The idea for 16 Tech was born nearly 20 years ago, when a 50-acre area in northwest downtown Indianapolis was zoned for entrepreneurial innovation activity. This happened as innovation districts were popping up in major cities throughout the United States.
As defined by the Brookings Institute, an innovation district is a “geographic area where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. They are also physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired and offer mixed-use housing, office and retail.”
The 16 Tech region—bounded by Indiana Avenue, Fall Creek, Waterway Boulevard—was identified as an ideal setting for an innovation district primarily because of its proximity to economic, academic, medical and research hubs. Downtown Indianapolis, IUPUI, IU School of Medicine, Riley Hospital, Eskenazi Hospital, Roudebush VA Medical Center and IU Methodist Hospital are all a short walk, bike ride, bus trip or drive away.
In late 2015, property owners within the area, along with City, corporate partners and local institutions, established a new organization, 16 Tech Community Corporation (16CC), to implement the 16 Tech District Master Plan and facilitate the growth of a successful innovation district. At that same time, 16 Tech Community Corporation began to conduct frequent and in-depth community meetings with residents and business owners in surrounding neighborhoods. In 2019, 16 Tech Community Corporation established the Community Investment Fund, which grants more than $1 million annually to projects that support residents in the community while ensuring access and opportunity to neighborhoods adjacent to 16 Tech.
The vision for the District is to become a vibrant and dense mixed-use community. It will be an ecosystem that promotes innovative ideas, a model for economic development in the knowledge-driven economy, and a sustainable urban community that is thoughtfully woven into its natural and urban surroundings. 16 Tech will also accommodate and nurture residential, retail, cultural, recreational and entertainment activities.