While news of coworking space Launch Indy is being heralded as another sign of the Indiana tech sector’s momentum, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says he sees another important takeaway: regional cooperation. Launch Indy is the result of a move by Launch Fishers to expand outside of Hamilton County, by acquiring space in The Union 525, refurbished entrepreneurial space near Lucas Oil Stadium and the Eli Lilly and Co. campus. The deal hinged on cooperation between Hogsett and Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. "The message I take from that is a level of regional cooperation that frankly we have not enjoyed before in the city of Indianapolis," said Hogsett, in an interview on this weekend’s edition of Inside INdiana Business Television.
Hogsett says Launch Indy and projects, including redevelopment of the former GM Stamping Plant site, help address one of the region’s top priorities: talent development.
Launch Fishers is the state’s first, and largest, coworking space. Led by founder and tech evangelist John Wechsler, it has grown from humble beginnings in the basement of a Fishers library, to more than 50,000 square feet and 600 members in a former Fishers call center.
Wechsler has also been a key player in expanding the coworking model statewide. Launch Indy is the latest addition to a Launch Indiana network that now includes more than 40 locations.
Launch Indy’s home, The Union 525, is located near Lucas Oil Stadium and Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) in downtown Indianapolis and includes "scale-up space" that has already attracted companies including Springbuk and SmartFile.
In November, Indy Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Ian Nicolini called The Union 525 "hugely important," saying it was not only important to the city’s growing tech scene, but would drive traffic, help out retail and improve quality of life.
The Launch Fishers deal brings 10,000 square feet of coworking space and plans for a robust calendar of private events to The Union, which at one time was home to Harry Wood and Emmerich Manual high schools.
During an interview with Inside INdiana Business last week at Launch Fishers, Wechsler and Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said the project is the result of continuing regional collaboration between Fishers and Indianapolis. Fadness says Launch Indy will create "a direct connection between our communities that will serve to streamline collaboration and foster innovation in central Indiana."
Hogsett believes it is already happening.
"I think all of my colleagues in the surrounding counties see a metropolitan Indianapolis as gaining jobs and no longer competing against one another, but collaborating for a better economy."
See the full interview with Mayor Hogsett on Inside INdiana Business Television: