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From Site Selection magazine, March 2023

Will This Year Beat Last Year’s Record Investment?

Downtown Indianapolis
Photo: Getty Images


t was 22 in ’22. That’s $22 billion in capital invested in Indiana in 2022. It might be 23 in ’23 if the Hoosier State maintains its economic development momentum. Governor Eric Holcomb referred to last year’s investment performance in his State of the State address as “an all-time record many times over, over half of which will take place in rural and mixed rural areas throughout our state, with hourly wages nearly 40% higher than the state’s average.” More than $7 billion of the total was foreign direct investment. 

Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) credits the state’s General Assembly with authorizing new measures that contributed significantly to the record investment. It says the most critical tool added to its toolbox is the Innovation Development Districts (IDD) that “leverage state and local resources to help a community land transformative projects at a pace that businesses demand.” The first IDD was deployed in Boone, resulting in a $2.1 billion dollar investment by Eli Lilly.

The investment will support two new manufacturing sites, and the creation of up to 500 new jobs in central Indiana. IEDC says “these planned facilities will increase Lilly’s manufacturing capacity for active ingredients and new therapeutic modalities, like genetic medicines, representing the company’s dedication to expanding its portfolio of potentially life-changing treatments for patients around the world. In addition to the full-time jobs Lilly plans to create, the company estimates up to 1,500 construction jobs will be required while the facilities are being built.”

Pending approvals of local zoning and annexation, Lilly plans to build its new operations within the new LEAP (Limitless Exploration / Advanced Pace) mega-site, the recently reported innovation and research district in Boone County, according to a press release. “The IEDC has identified Boone County as a strategic location for future growth and is exploring land purchase options for a large-scale research and innovation park,” it explains. “IEDC is securing land in Boone County to better position the state of Indiana to compete globally for high-wage careers in high-tech industries. The state has identified Boone County as strategic for development and growth due to its position between Indianapolis and Purdue University in West Lafayette, as well as its proximity to I-65.”


Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

Taking It to the Next Level

The General Assembly also entrusted the IEDC with a $300 million Business Promotion and Innovation augmentation that the agency says played an essential role in attracting businesses to Indiana while also funding critical IEDC programs such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and population growth efforts. “To modernize our toolbox and help the IEDC stay on the cutting edge of economic development, the General Assembly added additional flexibility to our current programs via a $300 million dollar credit cap. A credit cap allows the IEDC to allocate resources efficiently and respond to the needs of businesses with our most utilized tools.”

Innovation Development Districts leverage state and local resources to help a community land transformative projects at a pace that businesses demand.” 

— Indiana Economic Development Corp., crediting a new program created by the Indiana General Assembly

In January, the governor announced his 2023 Next Level Agenda, in which he commits to:

  • formalize a $300 million per year deal closing fund and an additional $300 million per year tax credit cap to give the state the flexibility and competitive edge to attract new businesses and jobs;
  • establish an ongoing revolving fund of $150 million for site acquisition efforts; 
  • expand the Manufacturing Readiness Grant Program by doubling the funding to $40 million over two years to support the growth of existing businesses; and 
  • increase Indiana Destination Development Corporation’s funding by $20 million to attract visitors and retain students as they transition to the workforce.

Grants for Site Preparation

In February, Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) granted $126,000 to 11 organizations and communities to help boost job growth and enhance local economies. I&M awarded grants to assist economic development activities across the area that I&M serves with two important programs to support and heighten the economic health of their communities. Property Development Grants help identify and prepare properties for future business and industrial uses. Initiatives Grants help economic development organizations launch new programs that highlight the communities they serve and encourage business attraction and expansion. 


Fort Wayne, Indiana

Photo: Getty Images

“Due to the phenomenal growth our communities have experienced, the inventory of ready industrial sites has dwindled,” said Ashley Savieo, I&M director of Economic Development in a release. “It has become increasingly crucial for communities to be fully prepared to market and be responsive to inquiries from businesses searching for a development ready site.” 

I&M is providing $83,500 in grants to help study and develop such properties. Many of the individual grants were awarded jointly to multiple agencies working together, such as local economic development organizations, counties and cities. 


Hoosier Project Roundup

Precision fermentation manufacturer Liberation Labs is investing $115 million to develop its first commercial-scale biomanufacturing facility in Richmond. The plant will help meet demand for alternative proteins, increasing its availability and cost-effectiveness for existing major food brands as well as the growing network of food-tech innovators. The company plans to break ground later this spring and reach full commercial production by the end of 2024 and will create 45 new manufacturing jobs. 

“The three things a biomanufacturing facility like ours needs are sugar, power and people — and Richmond, Indiana, has them all,” said Mark Warner, co-founder and CEO of Liberation Labs. “While sugar and power are commodities, a workforce experienced in manufacturing is not, which is why Richmond really stands out.” 

Doral Renewables LLC, a leading U.S.-based developer of renewable energy projects backed by Israeli and U.S. investors, launched in November 2022 the second phase of the company’s three-phase, 13,000-acre solar farm project, Mammoth Solar, in northwest Indiana. The second phase, named Mammoth South, will transform 3,500 acres in Pulaski County, generating renewable power for the surrounding area and advancing the state’s clean energy transition.

“Solar farming is part of a wave of jobs and prosperity sweeping through rural America and every resident of the county will benefit,” said Nick Cohen, president and CEO of Doral Renewables. “It will deliver $40 million to Pulaski County over 20 years. Property taxes will be reduced for landowners at a time when other counties are raising taxes. Mammoth in Pulaski will contribute approximately $400 million in payroll to the local area workforce.” 

GIM Inc., a sustainable manufacturer of composite and steel solutions, is establishing operations in Scottsburg, creating up to 135 new jobs by the end of 2026. The Kentucky-based company will invest $18.47 million to develop a new manufacturing campus on the former Tokusen USA facility site that closed in 2017. The project will enable GIM Inc. to increase production of its Sandwich Plate System (SPS®) — a load-bearing structural composite panel. 

“This is an important strategic investment for GIM Inc.,” said Chris Gibbs, president of GIM Inc. “We are launching entry into a market to meet the increased demand for environmentally sound, time-saving solutions for infrastructure in the United States and beyond. The state of Indiana, the city of Scottsburg and One Southern Indiana have been fantastic partners, working hard to make this process a smooth one as we are choosing southern Indiana for our manufacturing footprint.”

 RxLightning, a health technology company, picked New Albany as the startup’s headquarters. It plans to create up to 175 new, high-wage jobs by the end of 2025. The company provides digital solutions to make specialty drug enrollment more efficient. 

“Our new expanded headquarters will allow us to continue our growth and work collaboratively to accelerate the speed at which patients get access to medicine they need,” said Julia Regan, co-founder and CEO of RxLightning. “The state of Indiana, the city of New Albany and One Southern Indiana have been amazing partners in this endeavor. We considered other locations, but we’re thrilled to remain here in southern Indiana.”

Funded in part by the CHIPS Act and in partnership with Purdue University, SkyWater Technology plans to build a $1.8 billion semiconductor R&D and production facility in Tippecanoe County that will be supported by 750 new high-wage jobs. The 600,000-sq.-ft. project will allow SkyWater to respond to increasing customer demand for accelerated access to domestic development, manufacturing and advanced packaging for microelectronics, and will house advanced next-generation fabrication facilities.

“Through the support and partnership of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, we have a unique opportunity to increase domestic production, shore up our supply chains and lay the groundwork for manufacturing technologies that will support growing demand for microelectronics,” noted Thomas Sonderman, SkyWater president and CEO.  

Animal science company Elanco broke ground in April 2022 on its new global headquarters on the western edge of downtown Indianapolis. The planned 220,000-sq.-ft., six-story office structure and connected innovation and collaboration buildings will occupy 40 acres of the former General Motors Stamping Plant on the western edge of the White River. The headquarters campus is a key component of Elanco’s $300 million investment in the state and will become a destination for the company’s 10,000 global employees and others across the country and around the world who want to collaborate on animal health innovation. Elanco says the campus will be the heart of a scientific discovery network and research clearinghouse in animal health innovation.

“Broad access to the world’s animals coupled with a laser focus on creating pathways for innovation is what we believe sets Elanco apart as a sought-after partner,” said Simmons. “We’re building something significant that will make animals, the city and our world better, and we’re designing our new headquarters with those partnerships in mind.”

The campus is being developed in collaboration with AgriNovus, an initiative led by the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership to fuel the growth of Indiana’s ag-bioscience economy, and Indianapolis-based venture studio High Alpha. 

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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