Wednesday’s announcement of the expansion of Tsuchiya Co. Ltd.’s North American headquarters in Bloomington means far more than bringing 18 new jobs to the local economy by 2020 and solidifying the Japanese auto parts maker’s presence in south central Indiana.
It also represents a significant moment in the long-term growth of Bloomington and Indiana University — not only through the steady development of its Trades District Certified Technology Park, but also by bringing the city a step closer to the rise of a “10th Street Innovation Corridor” that extends from the downtown Trades District along 10th Street to the state Highway 45/46 bypass on the Bloomington’s northeast side.
The expansion of TASUS (Tsuchiya Automotive Systems-U.S.) involves a $9.2 million investment to build a new headquarters and a research and development center — its first in North America — within the Trades District. TASUS, which is led by IU Trustee Melanie Walker, plans to break ground by 2018, with the new jobs added two years later.
In comments made during the announcement, IU President Michael A. McRobbie noted that the university has long been a supporter and partner in developing a technology park. As one example, he noted IU Vice President for Engagement Bill Stephan’s service on the advisory committee that guided development of a Certified Tech Park Master Plan. McRobbie also cited the work of IU School of Art and Design students, who developed branding materials to promote the Trades District and produced architectural layouts and renderings for tech offices and co-working space within the district’s Dimension Mill area.
“The successful development of the Trades District will aid the growth of startup firms and help make it possible for greater numbers of IU gradates and students to find jobs and internships here in Bloomington. Internships are particularly important in growing Indiana’s workforce, as they often lead to full time jobs that keep some of our best talent in the state. Our hope is that the Trades District will also encourage IU alumni to bring their companies back to Bloomington and facilitate their immediate connection with the local tech community.”
— IU President Michael A. McRobbie
While the Trades District will anchor one end of the 10th Street Innovation Corridor, the other will be anchored by the new IU Health Bloomington Hospital and an adjacent Academic Health Center that will allow IU to expand its health science education programs, McRobbie said.
“Situated in between — along the 10th Street corridor — are a number of hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship, including IU’s renowned and highly ranked Kelley School of Business and IU’s School of Informatics and Computing, where a new, state-of-the-art building, Luddy Hall, is currently under construction,” McRobbie said. “(SoIC) is home to IU’s new program in intelligent systems engineering. The program welcomed its first students this fall and is expected to make a major contribution to creating and sustaining a culture of ‘building and making’ on the Bloomington campus.”
The Trades District’s central location also makes it walkable from the IU campus and easy for students, faculty, and staff to use the space, McRobbie said.
“It will centralize all of Bloomington’s entrepreneurship support and service activities in one place — a model that has proven successful in other parts of the state, including in Evansville’s high-tech incubator, Innovation Pointe,” he said. “The presence here of such a well-established and successful company will undoubtedly help to attract many new and growing tech companies.”
Read more about the TASUS expansion here.