SOUTH BEND - The man at the helm of the Renaissance District in South Bend says the multi-year effort to transform the former Studebaker Corp. site is ready to enter its next phase. Kevin Smith, president and chief executive officer of IQI, says the mixed-use technology campus has secured additional capital for operational and future development. Smith says existing tenants at the district are expanding with new tenants moving in and the next phase of the project involves a more people-centered focus.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Smith said seeing the transformation of the Renaissance District has been very rewarding on a personal level.

"I intentionally took on that project because it was such a huge, negative icon that was weighing our community down," said Smith. "To have it go through this metamorphosis and go from an old, antiquated, negative icon and translated into a positive, forward-looking icon, I've been blessed. It's had a tremendous impact on our community and how the community even sees itself, and I think that laden capability had been there, so I didn't create that. But I think it helped it to...I think it allowed people to believe in themselves again."

Developers are focusing on two specific buildings on the campus, which are technology-infused real estate. Smith says the buildings, known as Building 112 and Building 113, feature the necessary tech infrastructure required by tenants, such as Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

Smith says Building 112, a two-story, 50,000-square-foot building is 100% occupied. Building 113, which covers two stories and 215,000 square feet, is currently about 35% percent occupied.

"We’ve always seen ourselves as community champions, and with this new foundation we’re ready to move forward, to see how we can build on our momentum and better serve our tenants and our community," said Smith. "Over the next several weeks we’ll be announcing expansions by several existing tenants, and new tenants moving in before the end of the year."

Smith says in addition to the people-centered focus related to Building 113, developers are also focusing on enhancing the technology platform and moving toward manufacturing data-centric environments. The Renaissance District, according to Smith, features scalable data transfers to and from any point around the world.

Work on the Renaissance District has been ongoing for many years, with the first phase being completed in 2012 when Smith acquired the remaining Studebaker manufacturing buildings.

Last December, Smith appeared on a special Quality of Life Projects Town Hall edition of Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to talk about the project. You can watch the full interview below: