The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded Bloomington a $ 3.5 million grant to finance the development and construction of a new technology center in the Trades District, which will be located at Maker Way and North Madison Street.
The three-story building will measure approximately 22,000 square feet and include office space for small and medium tenants, conference rooms and shared facilities. The building is expected to open in 2024.
Alex Crowley, director of economic and sustainable development at Bloomington, said the center will be a focal point for the growing tech sector in Bloomington and provide growing technology companies.
Bloomington is expected to create 530 jobs and generate $ 51 million in private investment, according to a feasibility study by the IU Public Policy Institute.
In addition to the grant, the City of Bloomington will allocate $ 1.6 million to finance the construction of a new technology center.
Crowley said the tech hub will offer a range of services to small tech companies. Crowley said the space will provide a place for businesses to collaborate, network, and provide guidance to businesses that need more expertise.
“Fundamentally, it’s about changing Bloomington’s economy from a traditional manufacturing economy to the growth of the new economy of technology, life sciences and other sectors that are the strength of the region,” Crowley said.
The city has partnered with the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation to apply for this grant. The BEDC is a non-profit organization focused on promoting growth and quality employment opportunities for businesses.
BEDC President Jennifer Pearl said the BEDC will set up a non-profit organization to run and manage the center. Pearl said the center will also promote employment opportunities for recent IU graduates.
“It’s great for people who are studying technology, but they’re also hiring for sales positions, marketing positions, and other positions as well,” Pearl said.
Tom Guevara, director of the IU Public Policy Institute, said an additional 336 indirect and induced jobs are expected to be created. These jobs would not be technological jobs, but rather jobs in other sectors.
“Anytime you create a direct job, it usually has an indirect and induced effect,” Guevara said. “Because of the supply chains and then having money in our pockets from our jobs to spend at our discretion.”
The IU Public Policy Institute helped advise the city and the BEDC on the grant application as well as the technology center feasibility study.
Guevara said his experience as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Economic Development Administration gave him the expertise to provide advice on the grant application and the feasibility study, demonstrating the need for funding and the expected results of the proposed center.
A board of directors will oversee the nonprofit and the center itself. The board of directors will include, among others, Mayor John Hamilton, Pearl and Simran Trana, associate vice president of IU Innovation and Commercialization.