Accelerator, energy center envisioned for Ignition Park

After receiving an Ignition Park master plan, the Redevelopment Commission on Dec. 13 authorized a design and visioning process for an iconic accelerator building at the heart of Ignition Park to house early-stage, advanced-technology businesses as tenants.

The South Bend Redevelopment Commission also approved a study of the feasibility and financial viability of a renewable energy center featuring combined cooling, heating and electric power for all facilities in the technology park. The study will also examine various ownership options for the energy center, including co-ops or public-private partnerships.

BSA LifeStructures, which recently completed Ignition Park’s master plan, is authorized to conduct the energy center feasibility study, as well as to “lead a visioning and building imagery development process” for the accelerator building.

“Ignition Park’s competitive advantage when compared with other locations is its availability of robust, reliable, redundant and low-cost electric power. An energy center would safeguard that asset and provide potential tenants with a measurable value over other locations,” said former Mayor Stephen J. Luecke. “By moving forward on conceptual designs for an accelerator building, Ignition Park can be well-positioned to respond to the needs of growing businesses or new startups for a good environment in which to grow.”

Ignition Park, located on the grounds of the legendary Studebaker Corp., was designated with 83 acres in 2009 as part of the first dual-site Indiana Certified Technology Park, along with the 12-acre Innovation Park at Notre Dame. Ignition Park is being expanded by City planners to incorporate as many as 140 acres of developable land near downtown South Bend.

“The City of South Bend is moving ahead with developing the technology park even as we are completing the demolition of obsolete Studebaker buildings and brownfield remediation on site,” Luecke said. “Ignition Park points us to our promising future – a future rooted in entrepreneurship, technology, scientific research and other innovations that are powering the new economy in South Bend.”

Data Realty LLC is beginning site-development work for the construction of a 54,000-square-foot data center in the southeast section of Ignition Park, near Transpo’s operations center, the nation’s first LEED Platinum-certified transit facility.

According to the Ignition Park master plan, the accelerator building would be located in a central traffic circle of the park, in alignment with a north entrance from Sample Street and behind a reflecting pool for storm-water retention, and a green gathering space with solar trees and wind spires.

“This central focal point of Ignition Park defines the hub of the park, and the accelerator building, by its nature and location, could end up being the most dynamic and expressive building in the park,” said Geri Hathaway, Ignition Park director. “We are seeking an iconic building that would show a commitment by the City to Ignition Park’s aesthetic direction and signal the level of quality of the park’s environment.”

In a presentation to the Redevelopment Commission, BSA LifeStructures demonstrated how the master plan for Ignition Park provides for an innovative infrastructure that will help spark business recruitment and national interest while incorporating sustainable, green components for the technology park.

“This master plan provides for efficient transit into and through the park from our major roads, while creating engaging vistas which include visual manifestation of the City’s commitment to respect our environment while protecting and enhancing the redundant power and its controlled cost for our tenants into the future,” Hathaway said.

The Redevelopment Commission previously has authorized design work to provide road access and utilities to the Data Realty site as well as the preparation of additional design development documents for Ignition Park’s existing 83 acres.

Ignition Park seeks to attract a variety of innovative companies, especially high-tech and  data-related businesses. Some ventures under development at Innovation Park at Notre Dame are expected to put down roots and grow at Ignition Park.

Ignition Park is generally bounded by Sample Street on the north, Lafayette Boulevard on the east, Indiana Avenue on the south and Chapin Street/Prairie Avenue on the west.

Publication Date: 
December 2011
Article Type: 
Ignition Park News