Shelbyville and Commercial Real Estate and Indiana Economic Development Corp. and State Government and Tech Park and Government & Economic Development and Shelby County and Economic Development and Manufacturing & Technology and Real Estate & Retail

Shelbyville struggles to reach tech park goals

August 29, 2009
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Despite recent investment by Major Health Partners, Shelbyville’s technology park is about as far from meeting state standards as it was two years ago.

Intelliplex, the 141-acre development off State Road 9, has until Oct. 5 to apply to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for recertification. If Commerce Secretary Mitch Roob gives his blessing, Intelliplex may continue to capture state sales and income taxes that provide an incentive for new businesses.

It’s unclear, however, how the IEDC will react to the current state of affairs. Two years ago, then-Commerce Secretary Nathan Feltman threatened to revoke Intelliplex’s certification if it didn’t construct a flexible-use building and create more high-tech jobs.

Shelbyville Mayor Scott Furgeson said the city is still working toward the prescribed targets.

“With the economy, that was a big killer for us,” Furgeson said. “We had some good prospects we were working with. They didn’t pan out.”

IEDC spokeswoman Blair West said no one from the agency would comment before ruling on the park’s status.

Eileen Walker, CEO of the Association of University Research Parks in Tucson, Ariz., said two years would have been a “very ambitious” deadline for new construction, even during the boom years.



“Research parks are as affected as other developments,” she said. “Everything is pretty well constricted.”

Intelliplex is one of 18 technology parks that have received grants and tax revenue. Since breaking ground and becoming certified in 2003, Intelliplex has received a $1.2 million technology development grant from the state.

The park has captured $465,841 in income and sales taxes, out of a potential maximum of $5 million.

The tech park program began under Democratic governors Frank O’Bannon and Joe Kernan. Gov. Mitch Daniels certified three more of the parks. Two years ago, the administration began to question whether the tech parks differed from any other real estate development and began scrutinizing their progress.

Intelliplex was not exactly brimming with high-tech tenants. The park’s occupants included facilities owned by the not-for-profit Major Health Partners and a plastics-molding company, as well as professional offices and a Santa Fe Steakhouse.

The park also has a conference center, which Shelbyville built and financed partly with the state technology grant.

Ten other parks, including the one in downtown Indianapolis, have come up for review this year, and all were recertified.

Shelbyville and Major Health will be working together on the quest for recertification because the hospital actually owns the land. The city and hospital also team up on marketing the available property with Major Health retaining CB Richard Ellis.

All told, public and private sources have invested more than $30 million at Intelliplex. The park, which includes ob-gyn and cancer treatment centers, hosts 261 employees with a payroll of $11 million.

Major Health’s initial investment was $2.3 million for the land, plus contributions toward $7 million in new infrastructure.

Shelbyville’s Redevelopment Commission pays the tax revenue captured inside Intelliplex back to the hospital, in exchange for offering the land at a discount.

By buying the land, Major Health provided Intelliplex with “patient capital,” Furgeson said. “It certainly does not represent a profit-making deal for the hospital.”

The only recent addition to Intelliplex is the hospital’s $8 million orthopedic surgery center, ReNovo. The center led the hospital to create 11 jobs.

That’s far short of the 50 new jobs required in the agreement Shelbyville struck with the IEDC in 2007.

Furgeson and Major Health CEO Jack Horner met early in August with IEDC officials. Furgeson said the discussion was “positive and straightforward.”

Shelbyville and Major Health are talking up a three-pronged “cluster” strategy, focusing on life sciences research, animal health, and Internet technology or call centers.

Intelliplex still lacks affiliation with a research university. Furgeson said representatives of IU and Purdue will visit soon to talk about potential partnerships, including clinical trials.

Furgeson also is touting Purdue’s interest in building a horse hospital near Shelbyville’s racino.

The city and Shelby County recently agreed to put $2.3 million in racino tax revenue toward a $10 million hospital and research center.

Willie Reed, dean of Purdue’s School of Veterinary Medicine, said the hospital wouldn’t likely sit within Intelliplex. He does think it could attract feed or equipment suppliers.

“This is the beginning of making Shelby County an equine-focused area of the state,” Reed said.

Purdue would have to raise the money necessary to build the hospital.•

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