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Tenants trickling in to Purdue’s technology center

August 17, 2009

For a city feverishly growing its technology and life sciences sectors, it seemed a bit anticlimactic last January when Purdue University dedicated its new technology center with only one tenant.

But the lone tenant in the $12.8 million complex, FlamencoNets, a high-tech telecommunications firm, is about to get some company in the Purdue Research Park at Ameriplex—Indianapolis.

Purdue said two additional tenants have moved or are set to move into the 55,000-square-foot facility, with five others waiting in the wings.

The new arrivals are Terra Site Development, an engineering firm with offices in Westfield and Martinsville, and Brownsburg-based CoreTech Revolution, a custom Web-design and application developer.

“Being out there means we’re going to be surrounded by other technology companies, so you can feed off of each other,” said Michelle Burton, who founded CoreTech nearly six years ago.

Although the Purdue center co-developed with South Bend-based Holladay Properties charges market rental rates, it also has perks such as a business center with shared services and access to Purdue expertise. All things considered, the rent is about the same as what CoreTech paid in Brownsburg, Burton said.

The Purdue Research Foundation said the technology center can accommodate about 75 businesses. John Hanak, statewide director of Purdue Technology Centers, has a growing list of candidates.

“Our prospect list right now is 25 firms,” said Hanak, who is moving his northwest Indiana office running Purdue’s four statewide parks to the new Indianapolis facility.

Hanak said that, while the prospect list has been healthy, the recession has made it hard for some entrepreneurs to get funding to move to the next level.

The new center already has a half-dozen so-called affiliates—members of the Indianapolis facility that aren’t physically there, at least not yet.

They include Indy Audio Labs, a high-end audio electronics firm recently founded by two former employees of Indianapolis-based speaker maker Klipsch.

Two affiliates are currently based in West Lafayette: Jinsitec LLC, which makes pocket-size timers to remind people to take their medicine, and Intelliphage Inc., which makes test kits to detect bacteria in food and water. Another is Indianapolis-based ThirtySix Software.

Traditionally, many of the firms at Purdue’s technology parks have spawned from university research.

The West Lafayette park is the largest university-affiliated research park in the nation, with more than 160 companies employing about 3,100 people. Tenants include Bioanalytical Systems Inc., Cook Biotech and Endocyte Inc.

Purdue officials said the Indianapolis park—78 acres of land south of Interstate 70—has the potential to create 1,500 jobs. The campus, which now is essentially an empty field punctuated by trees and three-story-tall mounds of bulldozed dirt, has ample space for additional buildings.

The offices at the Purdue technology center are a departure from typical office parks. There’s no marquee listing the names of the tenants. A concierge in the lobby, who unlocked a door to receive an unannounced visitor, declined to confirm the names of any tenants.

She escorted the visitor to her boss, who has a remarkable talent for taking down notes while maintaining eye contact. Someone from Purdue will get back with you, she said.

At least nobody will steal your molecule here, where the curtain of secrecy conceals space for laboratories.•

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