City to roll out plan for 16th Street tech corridor

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The city of Indianapolis plans to announce a major initiative to turn a stretch of 16th Street northwest of downtown into a hub for biotechnology and other high-tech companies.

Develop Indy, an economic development group that receives public and private funding, sent media outlets an invitation to an announcement at Bush Stadium on Thursday.

Officials from that group would not comment on specifics of the announcement.

City leaders have discussed converting the 15-acre Bush Stadium site, wedged between 16th Street and the White River near Harding Street, into apartments as a component of the broader redevelopment initiative, dubbed 16 Downtown Technology District.

Nancy Langdon, Develop Indy’s executive project director for the initiative, and Brad Hurt, a Crawfordsville-based economic development consultant, discussed some of its details last year in a committee meeting of the City-County Council. At the time, they told the committee plans were to begin construction this summer.

According to meeting minutes, the initiative calls for transforming the area surrounding Bush Stadium and north of the IUPUI campus into a work, live and play district that includes housing and other amenities. The goal in doing that is to attract research firms, contract-services suppliers and technology companies to that section of town.

Plans for a technology corridor in that part of the city have been in the works since Mayor Bart Peterson’s administration. In 2003, the city and two economic-development groups commissioned New York-based architects to create a “Framework for a Research Community” for the area.

Mayor Greg Ballard formed a task force in November 2009 to study the area, and it made recommendations to the Metropolitan Development Commission last summer.

Also last summer, the council set aside $3.6 million in the Department of Metropolitan Development’s budget toward the redevelopment. That includes efforts such as streetscape planning, site development and environmental services, according to the task force recommendations.

Langdon told the council committee last summer that Bush Stadium’s façade would be preserved and it would be converted into apartments, with Indianapolis developer and preservationist John Watson taking the lead.

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