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Bloomington seeks to establish tech district

Bloomington is one of several Indiana communities to receive housing grants. (photo courtesy of the city of Bloomington)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – The city of Bloomington is seeking federal funds to establish a technology center in the city’s downtown Trades District. The city says the proposed Trades District Technology Center will support regional employment growth and economic development as the city rebuilds from the COVID-19 downturn.

Together with the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission and the Bloomington Economic Development Corp., the city has submitted an application for $5.9 million in CARES Act funds.

The RDC committed to matching the federal contribution with a $1.9 million pledge, representing 25% of the total cost of the project, which is approximately $7.8 million.  

“Creating a hub to consolidate and amplify the potential in Bloomington’s tech sector would be a dynamic next step,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “From the start-ups at the Mill to our flourishing bio-manufacturing industry to the resources at IU and Crane, we see strong momentum in the tech sector that will be essential to our community’s rebounding.”

The city says the district would create a hub for technology companies that are beyond the startup phase, with services and space for both growing and mature firms.  In addition to a mix of small- to medium-sized tenant office spaces, the proposed three-story, nearly 30,000-square-foot building could include shared amenities and convening spaces for tenants, local tech companies, and industry-related partners.

“Ultimately, the Trades District Technology Center project aims to connect local tech companies to regional, national, and international partners and resources,” said Jennifer Pearl, president of the BEDC. “Local economic development studies have shown the need to grow and diversify our community’s base of high-quality employment opportunities, while retaining and attracting talent. By helping post-startup tech firms to grow, this project will also help advance the region.”

The city says the EDA reviews applications on a rolling basis and a response is expected within a few months.