The city’s economic development agency details 71 successful projects in 2021, creating 4,575 new jobs and $572M in capital investment.
Mayor Joe Hogsett and Develop Indy, the City of Indianapolis’ economic development agency housed by the Indy Chamber, reported preliminary business attraction and retention results for 2021 today. The numbers confirmed the city’s continued growth following a period of economic disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of December 7, Develop Indy had pursued 71 successful relocation and expansion projects leading to 4,575 new jobs, 2,537 retained jobs, and $572 million in new investment. Average wages for new jobs reached roughly $31 per hour.
“As we worked our way through the continued challenge of the pandemic, Indianapolis nevertheless saw robust economic growth and job creation,” said Mayor Hogsett. “Thanks to the efforts of the Indy Chamber and Develop Indy, our city engaged dozens of projects, added and retained thousands of jobs, boosted the average wage, and secured well over a half a billion dollars in new investment. These indicators point in the direction of a more robust and inclusive economy for residents across our city.”
Indianapolis also saw major announcements for redevelopment projects near downtown. Developer 1820 Ventures announced a $250 million master plan for Elevator Hill, a commercial district on the former site of the Angie’s List campus, with a $16 million apartment building slated for the first phase of development. Somera Road, new owners of the Stutz building, announced plans for a $60 million redevelopment to transform the building into a mixed-use project offering retail, dining, offices, and art studios in August. Arrow Street Development also broke ground this year on Wesley Place, a $40 million mixed-use project with 244-units, contributing to the momentum of IU Health’s adjacent $1.6 billion hospital expansion on 16th Street.
“Almost every corner of the mile square is undergoing extensive redevelopment that creates more jobs with better retention and sets up Indianapolis for expanded future growth,” said Portia Bailey-Bernard, Vice President of Develop Indy. “As we’re watching development in Indianapolis continue to change, we’re making some critical decisions about city-county real estate, which allows for better investment opportunities and placemaking for our residents.”
The Indianapolis industrial real estate market fired on all cylinders throughout the year, with record-high demand for industrial expansions. Low vacancy in the manufacturing and distribution market generated demand for a new, modern product. In October, Ambrose Property Group broke ground on a speculative development located on the east side of Indianapolis where the International Harvester and Navistar complex once stood. The 93-acre parcel will provide up to 1.3 million square feet of light manufacturing or logistics space, with a $24 million 616,000 square foot building planned for the first phase. Scannell Properties made plans to invest $30 million for two speculative buildings totaling roughly 700,000 square feet of industrial space located on the east side near Post Road and E. Prospect Street.
Indy’s tech industry continues to attract large high-tech employers such as iA, a provider of software-enabled pharmacy fulfillment solutions. The company opened its global headquarters in Indianapolis, and the project is expected to create up to an additional 420 new, high-wage jobs in Indianapolis by the end of 2023. Kennected, an Indianapolis-based tech company, has developed a platform to teach business owners techniques to improve lead generation and announced plans to invest more than $2 million in its Indy operations and create up to 405 jobs by the end of 2025.
This is the second year Develop Indy and the City of Indianapolis operated under a new “Inclusive Incentives” policy to advance job opportunities for Indianapolis residents and remove barriers to employment that prevent individuals from attaining and retaining good-paying jobs. Under this policy, businesses receiving incentives must reinvest five percent of their tax savings into a workforce contribution fund that provides a solution to remove barriers to employment (childcare, training, transit) for workers at those companies and in the community. For example, plant-based food manufacturer Greenleaf Foods made significant proposals, with five percent of their tax-abatement value committed to a company-wide childcare stipend program, training dollars to help workers complete their GED, and additional sidewalk enhancements to make access to their site more pedestrian-friendly.
Some employers, such as Cook Medical, are ahead of the curve in making inclusive investments as part of their business operations. The company announced two adjacent projects on Indy’s east side: a new medical device manufacturing facility and a local grocery store. The $7 million manufacturing facility is being developed in a public-private partnership with Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, The Indianapolis Foundation, and the United Northeast Community Development Corp. Goodwill will provide high-skill manufacturing training and opportunities for long-term employment and career progression to the nearly 100 employees generated from the Cook contract, while the grocery store will provide access to healthy, fresh food for the new facility’s employees and the wider community, which is largely known as a food desert.
“When you think about traditional economic development, the focus is on the number of jobs created and retained and the total capital investment made in a community,” said Bailey-Bernard. “However, that is not inclusive nor equitable. Develop Indy connects leaders on development projects we’re working closely with to neighborhood groups and finding ways to recognize their impact in the community. That leads to more equitable and inclusive growth for Indy.”
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