WARSAW — Leaders from both the city of Warsaw and Kosciusko County joined prominent members of local business and representatives of academia at the Warsaw campus of Ivy Tech Community College Monday afternoon, Nov. 5, to celebrate progress made in an area of land surrounding the college, which has been earmarked for the area’s growing manufacturing sector.
The centerpiece of that progress, what developers call a shell building, was on display during the afternoon gathering to highlight progress being made in Warsaw Technology Park, located in northwest Warsaw.
“It certainly is an honor to represent the city as we showcase our technology park,” said Warsaw Mayor Joseph Thallemer. “Warsaw Technology Park is 200 acres, and it’s certified by Indiana Economic Development Corporation, who joined us to partner and support growth and advancement of high technology manufacturing in the orthopedic capital of the world.”
According to Thallemer and Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation CEO Alan Tio, modern-day buzzwords like partnership, collaboration and relationship-building are all present and intertwined in the rapidly-growing development.
“Today we are here to celebrate the Warsaw tech park, which is a great example, a shining example of what you can do to develop a product to be ready to support business investments for companies that want to grow with us here in the Warsaw area,” said Tio. “We also know that this Warsaw tech park shows the importance of relationships and having those partnerships in place so when you do have them work together, they’re not meeting each other for the first time.”
The area has been designated as a TIF district, or Tax Increment Financing, a designation which allows such areas to collect revenue for the purposes of installing infrastructure necessary to make the area attractive to potential tenants. The way that works is when a municipality designates an area as a TIF district, it doesn’t do that until it knows it has at least one potential client or new business from which to draw property taxes. With that client in place, the municipality can approach a lending institution or issue bonds with the promise of future tax revenue as collateral. From there, the funds generated with the loan, or bond can be used to build valuable infrastructure that will make the area attractive to even more new businesses, creating what economic development personnel hope will be a snowball effect. Having infrastructure in place creates an area that developers refer to as “shovel-ready.”
In the case of Warsaw Technology Park, the first phase opened in 2015, with the second phase projected to open next year. The sites feature flexible lot sizes, offsite retention, underground utilities and stoplight access to US 30, according to a press release from KEDCO.
The primary developer in the area, West Hill Development, has announced plans for the construction of a building known as a shell building.
Brandon Robinson of Robinson Construction and West Hill Development address the spectators and explained the project.
“Today, we have just over a half million square feet within the West Hill Development portion of the tech park and we’re very pleased to announce that in this next coming year, we will be unveiling the new tech shell building,” said Robinson. “This is a state-of-the-art, 52,000 square-foot facility with an exterior, 4,000-square foot, two-story office.”
Robinson said the construction will allow for some customization geared toward any potential tenant. “We built in a lot of flexibility,” he said.
As the site continues to grow, leaders and planners such as the developers, Tio and Thallemer all point toward key partnerships as key in the success for future projects.
Warsaw’s flagship industry, orthopedic manufacturing, has grown steadily for more than a century. Organizations such as Orthoworx and AcceLYNX help create a network of support for potential new businesses in the area and are heavily involved in the development of the park, Thallemer said. In addition, Tio pointed to the school in the midst of it all, Ivy Tech, as being a source of potential additions to the workforce for any potential new tenant as well as established businesses in the area. “We’ve got the infrastructure in place and the support of a top-notch talent pipeline,” said Tio.