(INDIANAPOLIS) – Recent news that the Indianapolis metro is a finalist for the massive Amazon HQ2 project continues strong economic momentum from 2017 into the New Year, according to the business attraction arm of the Indy Chamber. The Indy Partnership reports approximately 15,250 new job commitments and more than $1.8B in capital investment from 140 successful corporate relocation and expansion projects last year, outpacing 2016 by all these measures across the nine-county area.
Many of the region’s most visible ‘wins’ continue to come from high-tech companies that rely on a highly-skilled workforce, powering Indiana to its recent #2 ranking in software employment gains (according to Software.org) as the state largest metro economy and population center.
“Indy covers all the business basics – affordability, access to customers and suppliers, an environment that supports entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Michael Huber, President & CEO of the Indy Chamber. “We also offer the lifestyle options and career opportunities that attract and retain skilled workers and their families, the human capital that drives high-tech growth.”
In early 2017, the New York Times reported on Indy’s success ‘luring tech talent,’ saying the metro has “steadily, if quietly, become a center for new technology, particularly software.” Forbes named Indianapolis a 2017 ‘Top City for Young Professionals,’ and two Hamilton County suburbs – Carmel and Fishers – were separately ranked the ‘Best Place to Live’ in the U.S. by Niche.com and Money Magazine, respectively.
Indy Chamber Chief Economic Development Officer Maureen Krauss believes the accolades are well-earned. “Over the last decade, the Indy region has outpaced the rest of Metropolitan America in population and employment growth,” she noted. “In today’s talent-driven economy, the two are fundamentally connected, and our track record in 2017 shows that Indianapolis fits the bill for people and employers.”
Indy Partnership works with local economic development organizations and governments to represent the region’s diverse quality of life and competitive business climate.
“We invest locally and collaborate regionally to enhance our livability, invest in infrastructure, support entrepreneurship and other priorities,” said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness, who also chairs the Central Indiana Council of Elected Officials. “When it comes to promoting our progress to businesses across the country and around the world, we continue to make progress to speak as one regional voice.”
High-profile business attraction and expansion projects across the region include:
- India-based tech giant InfoSys creating a 2,000-employee innovation hub in downtown Indianapolis, adding a global dimension to Indy’s growing national reputation as an information technology hub;
- Indy continues to flex its muscle as a distribution and logistics hub, landing a $30M investment and 1,160 new jobs from XPO Logistics in Lebanon (Boone County), while Plainfield and Hendricks County add to a booming distribution industry with an expanded UPS hub (creating 578 jobs with a $260M investment);
- FedEx continues to expand its Central Indiana footprint with a new facility planned for Johnson County; Greenwood also attracted a 500-job distribution center from fast-growing fashion retail start-up Dia & Company, which cited the region’s strength in logistics and technology as key to its e-commerce plans;
- A central location, skilled workforce and existing automotive base were critical to Beijing West Industries’ decision to build a new $80M manufacturing location in Hancock County (Greenfield) to employ 441;
- In another part of the automotive economy, workforce was also cited as a driver of KAR Auction Services intention to grow by 400 jobs and invest $80M in its increasingly high-tech Hamilton County operations;
- In Madison County, NTK Precision Axle will add 198 jobs and $92M investment to a resurgent manufacturing sector in and around Anderson;
- And in Morgan County, economic development officials hailed a year of promising business growth and low unemployment while eyeing the ongoing construction of I-69 through the county, which promises significant commercial and industrial investment potential around planned interchanges in years to come.
To keep up with the attraction and retention of talent, many notable public and private initiatives aimed at enhancing livability in the region were also announced or gained momentum in 2017: Greenwood officials unveiled an ambitious, $25M redevelopment plan for downtown; to the east in Shelby County, a new trail system capitalized on the natural beauty of the Blue River corridor with bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly amenities.
Meanwhile, plans announced for the state’s first Internet of Things Lab in Fishers will come to life in 2018, while plans for rebranding in Greenfield and adding trails in Cumberland and Fortville are moving forward in Hancock County.
According to Krauss, such efforts deserve recognition alongside the Indy Partnership’s litany of corporate commitments and job creation results.
“Our quality of life – walkable urban neighborhoods, thriving suburbs and small towns alike – is essential to Indy’s continued economic momentum,” she said. “As long as the Indy region is an appealing destination for talent, we’ll also be an attractive destination for employment, investment and innovation-driven industries.”