It may take 10 years to fully come to fruition, but the City of Noblesville’s Innovation Mile initiative officially launched Sept. 21 when announced during Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen’s State of the City address.
Innovation Mile will be a 1-mile-long, master-planned business district along 141st Street between Olio Road and Prairie Baptist Road. The development will encompass 200 acres and include commercial space designed for innovative companies.
Jensen said he hopes Noblesville will “drive its own growth.”
“We know there’s a strong nucleus of innovation companies, technology companies and advanced manufacturing,” Jensen said. “We know there’s a strong core of that here in central Indiana. We wanted to have a 200-acre, master-planned site for them as they continue to grow and expand in central Indiana so they can land here in Noblesville.”
Jensen said companies look for more than just space; they also look at technology-related infrastructure like fiber or conduit.
“We need to be able to support them on the technology side,” Jensen said. “That’s a lot easier to lay that site out and lay that vision out from the beginning versus with the needs of specific companies.”
Laying the groundwork is the city’s next step. Noblesville Economic Development Director Andrew Murray said his department is already working on the project. He expects Innovation Mile will take 10 years to fully complete, but companies may begin to break ground as soon as 2023. The first step for the economic development department is to begin utility work.
“We want to work at updating our comprehensive plan with this vision and updating our zoning standards to increase the minimum expectation for this area,” Murray said. “We want high-end, high-quality development out here.”
Murray said Innovation Mile will target companies in advanced manufacturing, medical technology, life sciences, wholesale trade and professional technical or financial services.
“At the end of the day, the way you set yourself apart in this market is you have to have a story and a competitive advantage and be able to articulate to these companies why they will be successful should they invest in your community,” Murray said. “We are trying to add to our product to sell the vision behind this 200-plus acres. Ultimately, we want this to be a high-end, campus-like, master-planned development.”
To create the campus-like feel to Innovation Mile, Jensen said green space, trails and coworking spaces are important.
“We want an innovation corridor that is not only acceptable to big companies but also with smaller areas for the one- and two-man shops getting ready to launch their company to land in as well,” Jensen said. “We want there to be park land in it, restaurant and food options, food trucks, for example. We know IT spaces and innovation spaces really thrive off of cohesion and groupthink, so there will be areas those folks all working together in that campus can go together and share ideas.”
Choosing the site
Mayor Chris Jensen said there were several reasons why the City of Noblesville planned Innovation Mile on 141st Street between Olio Road and Prairie Baptist Road.
“It’s easily located and is adjacent to I-69 and a half-hour or less to Indianapolis International Airport,” Jensen said. “We heard those two key components are why industries land in Hamilton County.”
Jensen said it’s tough to find a 200-acre plot of land in Hamilton County, and there were only three land owners for the site where Innovation Mile is planned.
“We are going to work with them through the development process,” Jensen said. “Property owners are aware and are part of the early discussions.”