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Bloomington hires firm to plan technology park

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Development officials have hired a company to plan a downtown Bloomington technology park they hope can eventually spawn a bustling high-tech business hub in the southern Indiana city.

Columbus, Ohio-based landscape architecture firm MSI/KKG and its partners will craft a master plan and redevelopment strategy for 12 acres in downtown Bloomington that the city purchased last year from Indiana University.

Bloomington will pay the company up to $275,000 for the expected yearlong effort that will include preparing a market feasibility analysis and developing an infrastructure plan. The study will also evaluated local housing needs.

City economic development director Danise Alano-Martin told The Herald-Times that the goal is to create a certified tech park with the infrastructure to support technology-related businesses.

She said the opportunity for growth in the area is strong based on industries in Indianapolis, 60 miles to the north, and the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center southwest of Bloomington that employs about 5,000 people.

"From Indianapolis to Crane, I think we've got a very strong research and technology draw," Alano-Martin said. "I think if we can capitalize on that in Bloomington — and I think we can — then I think you are looking at a bigger market."

She said that having the park will provide companies with the kind of urban and recreational space that will attract the talent they need for those businesses.

Bloomington Economic Development Corp. President Ron Walker said a certified tech park would give Bloomington the infrastructure suited to the unique needs of technology-based companies. He said there's "great potential" in attracting technology businesses that also tend to offer higher wages.

MSI/KKG's master planning process will likely run through January 2013 and will include open meetings to gather input and ideas from the public, stakeholder meetings and intensive design work.

The company will partner with three other firms that bring different skills to the table for the project. It was chosen from 10 firms that responded to a request for proposals and from three finalists that made it to the second round of interviews.

Alano-Martin said MSI/KKG was chosen based on the work it had done on research parks, scientific research parks and downtown redevelopment projects. She said it also has a partner specializing in technology infrastructure — something no other applicant offered.

The city intends to improve the infrastructure of the 12-acre plot through work that may include relocating and repairing storm and sanitary sewer systems, adding or extending roads and likely demolishing a large warehouse.

Alano-Martin said MSI/KKG will also be looking at green options, in hopes of making the area "as sustainable a technology park as possible."

Afterward, she hopes most of the property will be sold to businesses and returned to the city's tax roll.

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  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?

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