Indiana Daily Student

The City of Bloomington receives $3.5 million grant to establish new technology center

<p>A picture of an artist’s rendering of the Trades District Technology Center. Bloomington will construct a new technology center projected to open in 2024, which is funded in part by a U.S. Department of Commerce grant.</p>

A picture of an artist’s rendering of the Trades District Technology Center. Bloomington will construct a new technology center projected to open in 2024, which is funded in part by a U.S. Department of Commerce grant.

The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded Bloomington a $3.5 million grant to fund 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 be roughly 22,000 square feet and will include small and medium tenant office spaces, conference rooms and shared amenities. The building is expected to open in 2024.

Alex Crowley, Bloomington’s director of Economic and Sustainable Development, said the center will be a focal point for the growing tech sector in Bloomington and will provide to developing tech businesses.

Bloomington is projected to create 530 jobs and generate $51 million in private investment, according to a feasibility study the IU Public Policy Institute conducted.

In addition to the grant, the City of Bloomington will allocate $1.6 million to fund the construction of a new technology center.

Crowley said the technology center would offer a range of services to small tech companies. Crowley said the space will offer businesses a place to collaborate, network and will provide some consulting for businesses who need more expertise.

“Fundamentally what this is all about is changing the Bloomington economy from a traditional manufacturing economy to growing the new economy of technology, life sciences and other sectors that are the strength of the area,” Crowley said.

The city partnered with the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation to apply for this grant. The BEDC is a nonprofit focusing on fostering growth and quality job opportunities for businesses.

BEDC President Jennifer Pearl said the BEDC will set up a non-profit organization to manage and run the center. Pearl said this center will also promote job opportunities for recent IU graduates. 

“It’s great for people who study tech, but they also hire for business positions, for marketing positions and other positions as well,” Pearl said.

Tom Guevara, IU Public Policy Institute director, said an additional 336 indirect and induced jobs are estimated to be created. These jobs wouldn’t be tech-based jobs, but rather jobs in other sectors.

“Every time you create a direct job, usually there’s an indirect and induced effect from that,” Guevara said. “As a result of supply chains and then having money in our pocket from our jobs to spend at our discretion.”

IU Public Policy Institute helped advise both the city and the BEDC on the grant application as well as the tech center feasibility study. 

Guevara said his experience as deputy assistant secretary for the Economic Development Administration gave him the expertise to offer guidance on the grant application and feasibility study, which demonstrates the need for funding and the projected outcomes of the proposed center.

A board of directors will oversee the non-profit and center itself. The board will include Mayor John Hamilton, Pearl and Simran Trana, associate vice president of IU Innovation and Commercialization, among others.

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