SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A South Bend-based developer plans to break ground later this year on a new campus for startups that it says would give businesses an opportunity to grow beyond the early stages.
Great Lakes Capital has agreed to build at least three 40,000- to 50,000-square-foot buildings on 13 acres of land at Ignition Park, an 80-acre technology park south of downtown. The company also has an option to buy another 11 acres, which could provide space for two more buildings.
"This is a great project for the future of South Bend," said Chris Fielding, director of business development for the city. "This really solidifies us as a hub for technology companies and startups in the future."
Ignition Park currently has one tenant that employs about 20 people.
The plan approved last week by the South Bend city's Redevelopment Commission calls for Great Lakes to spend about $18 million over a period of about three years.
The three new buildings are expected to house tenants that employee a total of about 120 people, Fielding said.
Managing Partner Brad Toothaker told the South Bend Tribune (http://bit.ly/1gQ2KdX ) that Great Lakes hopes to break ground on two of the buildings later this year. Construction on the third building would begin next spring.
Toothaker said Great Lakes has received tentative lease commitments from a number of startups, including some at Innovation Park at Notre Dame.
"We're in the design phase and the final strokes of commitments with several tenants," Toothaker said.
South Bend officials agreed to invest $900,000 to pay for site improvements and facade enhancements at the campus. They also agreed to support a seven- to nine-year tax abatement for the project. The money would come a tax increment financing area that also includes the airport.
Fielding said officials hope the new campus will lure more development to the park, which operates in tandem with Innovation Park, the business incubator that opened in 2009 at Notre Dame.
"Momentum creates momentum," Fielding said.
Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com