Articles

EYE ON THE PIE: Indiana needs action, not analysis

Indiana and other states have economic incentives for businesses. We try to attract new businesses, to keep businesses here, and to encourage existing businesses to expand. Yet we do not feel sufficiently successful. Often, we are told that our failing is the inadequate development of entrepreneurial firms. The guys and gals with bright ideas just don’t get going in Indiana. Does our culture stifle creativity and the innovative spirit? Do our institutions make us docile and repress our flowering potential?…

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State remains vigilant on military base closures: Protecting jobs could still be tricky; Base Realignment and Closure process to conclude by year’s end

Historically, the vast majority of the military’s initial Base Realignment and Closure recommendations are included in the final cut. Even so, Indiana can’t afford to let down its defenses yet. “We’re still very much on this case, and are going to stay that way through the end of this process,” said John Clark, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels’ senior adviser for economic growth. “We’re going to remain vigilant. These were recommendations, not conclusions.” For years, Indiana’s political leaders and economic developers…

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Cleanliness is being undervalued EYE ON THE PIE Morton Marcus:

This column has been too glum recently. That is the result of observing what happens in the General Assembly where the many good things done (for example: a stiffer open alcohol container bill) are outweighed by the silliness (daylight-saving time). Let’s take a rest and praise some people who are doing something noble and important. A coalition of clergy, civic groups and labor unions are trying to get higher wages and benefits for janitors in the Indianapolis area. Currently, most…

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Convention payoffs won’t be instant: New deals, development unlikely until construction begins

The much-ballyhooed battle about funding for a new stadium and expanded convention center downtown appears to be over, but it will be some time before the victors get the spoils. Although state lawmakers authorized a series of tax increases to pay for the $900 million project, plenty of work remains to realize the promised payoffs-increased convention business, additional development and a shot at hosting the Super Bowl. “I don’t expect to see any of that until construction starts,” said Indianapolis…

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Sales, new spec space in the cards at Intech: Intech One and Two likely to fetch top dollar, draw national interest, investment broker says

Two years ago, Lauth Property Group Inc.’s Intech Park was arguably the most prominent sign of central Indiana’s soft office market. The northwest-side park’s largest buildings, Intech One and Two, had entire floors vacant and awaiting completion. Acterna LLC was pulling out of its 140,000-square-foot building, a retreat symbolic of the technology bust’s effect on the larger suburban office market. Today, helped by a robust investment market and Intech’s recent state designation as a certified technology park, Lauth hopes the…

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IU planning logistics center: University seeks funds for facility to provide services to TDL industry

Indiana University officials say they’re shopping for a site near the airport or in Plainfield for a laboratory to help grow the state’s transportation-distribution-logistics industry-known as TDL. The IU Supply Chain Control Center would evaluate for companies the feasibility and cost benefits of new technologies that could be used to improve sourcing, production and product distribution. The service would be provided at no or little cost. But the center faces a logistics challenge of its own-a delivery of cash. IU…

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Experts see improving market: Higher occupancy rates, more construction projects mean good news for landlords, developers

IBJ: Is your sector of the construction or real estate industry better or worse off than a year ago and why? BURK: Overall, I think the Indianapolis office market is better off than it was a year ago. The occupancy rate for the 29-million-plus square feet of multitenant office properties in the market increased by about 2 percent last year, to 82.5 percent. There was positive net absorption of about 600,000 square feet, most of which occurred in the suburbs….

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Plainfield, Avon work on land annexation agreement: Pact could pave way for mammoth industrial park by Browning Investments

Officials from the towns of Plainfield and Avon are negotiating to share annexation of a large parcel of unincorporated land that a mammoth industrial and distribution park will be built upon. Locally based developer Browning Investments Inc. has much of the 1,100-acre tract north of its Plainfield AirTech Business Park in Hendricks County under contract. When finished, the decade-long project will boast 15 million square feet of space, almost equaling the entire Plainfield industrial market. It dwarfs the 5.5-million-square-foot AirTech…

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State awaits Crane’s fate: Indiana tech promoters hope feds will expand naval base

In just a few weeks, Hoosiers will learn whether the Navy plans to multiply southwest Indiana’s economic development prospects, or mothball its Crane base, the region’s primary high-tech asset. The latter scenario would not only devastate the region; it would seriously set back statewide efforts to modernize Indiana’s economy. “If Indiana were in a position where we were a recognized technology leader, the loss of that one asset might not loom as large,” said Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Vice President…

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EYE ON THE PIE: What politicians don’t know can hurt us

Last week in Jefferson City, I heard Missouri’s governor outline his economic and budgetary concerns. It sounded very much like a speech I could have heard in Indiana. His speech went something like this: Medicare is about to eat up the state budget. We have to find ways to use school funds more effectively because our education system is not sufficient for the needs of our citizens. We have to protect taxpayers from the burdens of new taxes. We need…

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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Be yourself-maximize your assets

Be who you are. Conversely, don’t try to be somebody you’re not. Focus on what you do best, and you’ll succeed. When we think of people who excel at anything … Joshua Bell playing the violin, Reggie Miller shooting three-pointers, Dr. Lawrence Einhorn treating cancer … we understand they have achieved their success by focusing on their God-given talents, developing them, and practicing, practicing, practicing. Communities are much the same, though the philosophy could be amended to read a more…

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Indiana’s annual exports hit another record high: State sent $19.1 billion in goods to other countries

Boosted by a strong fourth quarter, Indiana export sales jumped significantly in 2004, hitting a record high of $19.1 billion, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. reported. Indiana’s 2004 export total was 16.5-percent higher than 2003’s figure of $16.4 billion, exceeding the national pace of export growth of 13 percent. Indiana exported $4.9 billion worth of goods in last year’s fourth quarter, 22.7 percent more than in the third quarter of 2004 and 16 percent more than the fourth quarter of…

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New owner brings hope for Eastgate property: Demolition would pave way for redevelopment

Every end is a beginning, the proverb goes. Accordingly, the probable demolition of nearly vacant Eastgate Mall by new owners JTL Capital LLC isn’t causing much heartbreak among city officials and east-side residents. “I was thrilled to hear they plan to demolish [Eastgate],” said Ruth Ann Walker, a member of the Warren Township Development Commission. “It opens that parcel up for bigger and better things.” What that might be isn’t yet clear, and Dallas-based JTL so far has divulged little…

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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Keep lights on at the Statehouse

CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary Keep lights on at the Statehouse Every morning I wake up happy that my job doesn’t require getting things through the Indiana General Assembly. I don’t have that kind of patience, and I’m not cut out to deal with that much frustration. I understand that big issues take time to be resolved and that compromise rarely happens overnight, but for a few issues that everyone seemed to agree were critical from the outset, the time it’s taking…

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STATEHOUSE DISPATCH Ed Feigenbaum: Competing interests emerge to cloud coming budget tiff

At the beginning of the legislative session, you probably thought that given Republicans were firmly in charge at the Statehouse for the first time in 20 years, bu d g e t – m a k i n g would be easy. Guess again. And gear up for a major budget battle. When Gov. Mitch Daniels proposed his budget ideas, lawmakers immediately shot down the most visible and memorable feature: the 1-percent surtax on higher-income Hoosiers. House members then passed…

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Little jets get the test in Indiana: New aircraft could help small airports shave costs

A top Indiana economist will study whether an emerging class of aircraft known as “very light jets” could fuel an economic boom, especially in the state’s smaller, more isolated communities. Morton J. Marcus, director emeritus of the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University, will gauge the potential impact of VLJs in six communities, including Mount Comfort Airport in Hancock County. Several aircraft makers next year plan to launch the diminutive jets, which can whisk up to six people as…

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State tourism effort set for new format: Lawmakers create separate department; supporters think changes could lead to less bureaucracy, more funds

After years of languishing in the Department of Commerce, lawmakers passed legislation late last month creating a separate Department of Tourism and Community Development that will report to Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman starting July 1. The commerce department already has been dissolved, effective Feb. 1, and the state’s economic development programs have been handed to the new Indiana Economic Development Corp. Tourism supporters are hopeful that by removing a layer of bureaucracy, the department can capture more funding. “It was…

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Council launches new HR initiative: Target is small companies that have no administrator

Small-business owners who need help wading through myriad human resources issues now have another source to consider-the Indianapolis Private Industry Council Inc. The 23-year-old IPIC, better known for overseeing the seven WorkOne career centers in Marion County, has leapt into the HR arena by partnering with a handful of professionals who have agreed to honor the agency’s low-cost pledge. Sixty thousand people walk through the doors of the centers each year looking for work. But many of their potential employers-many…

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Software-maker expands through public incentives: Exact Target must prepare for market’s consolidation

It made for a great photo-op. With the morning sun shining brilliantly through the windows, Exact Target showed off its brand new headquarters in the Guaranty Building on Monument Circle. It was the second day of spring. Bipartisan smiles were the first item on the agenda. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, was there to celebrate the fast-growing e-mail software-maker’s $1.14 million package of government incentives. So was Mayor Bart Peterson, a Democrat. Exact Target had earned its tax credits, abatements…

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Purdue ousts biz guru: Director fired amid shakeup of high-profile tech incubator

The billboards read “Go Businessmakers,” but the yellow flag is up. Purdue University is reorganizing its primary program to assist high-tech startups and has fired the director. Part of Purdue’s nationally recognized effort to transform raw university research into viable businesses, the Gateways Program had been managed since October 1998 by Sam Florance, a former investment banker and management consultant. Purdue closed Gateways and eliminated Florance’s position on March 14, IBJ has learned. On March 18, Joseph B. Hornett, senior…

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