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Page last updated on March 7, 2019 at 9:32 am

Thank you, Lynn, for that very kind introduction.

Acknowledge and thank elected officials, President Michael McRobbie, IEDC Rep Dale Buuck, former mayors Tomi Allison, John Fernandez and Mark Kruzan and his staff.

And allow me to add my welcome to this diamond in the rough, the Dimension Mill. These are exciting times for this area of our city, and I suspect you will be telling newcomers ten years from now, "You won't believe what this place used to look like!" We are in the "before" stage of the redevelopment of this historic area of property known as the Trades District. We are here today to announce a great and important step toward accomplishing the "after."

Many partners have contributed to getting us to this point, several of whom join us here today. They include the BEDC, the IEDC, President Michael McRobbie and Indiana University, the city's Redevelopment Commission, and so many others. From the residents of Bloomington, a sincere "thank you" for all that you have done to advise, inform and support this process. It is these partnerships that will make us better than we could ever be on our own.

Some of those advisors and partners are themselves from the robust and creative tech community of Bloomington - who have welcomed and encouraged and nurtured the next chapter for the Trades District. And nearby businesses and property owners already invested here. You've been instrumental in sustaining the vision and drive for the new Trades District. Let's keep the momentum going. I really like making these announcements, and look forward to making more that will satisfy the needs and desires of additional current and future members of our tech community. (Who will be next?)

A few of you gathered here today may remember when this area was dominated by The Showers Furniture Factory. A few more will remember this area when it was in use by Indiana University for offices and storage. Many of you will certainly remember when the City of Bloomington, CFC, Inc, and Indiana University joined forces to revitalize the iconic building we now know as the Showers Complex, IU Research Park and City Hall in 1996. That, and other well-executed nearby redevelopments, set the stage for our announcement today.

With that…

I am very pleased to announce that Tsuchiya Group, will establish their North American design and development center and corporate headquarters here in the Trades District investing over $9 million. They, along with the BEDC and their collaborative workspace here, will be the trailblazers who will be here to welcome and inspire all who follow.

Melanie Walker, President and CEO of TASUS Corporation, and I as mayor of Bloomington, have signed a letter of intent for TASUS to expand their base of operation, develop its capacity to grow and train employees, and innovate new technologies within the City, specifically here in the Trades District.

TASUS has a great history as a local advanced manufacturing employer with international roots. They began operations here in 1989 with only 9 employees and now have over 200 in the area. Now, they supply the auto industry from Toyota to Tesla.

TASUS employees are personally invested in this community through participation on boards and as donors to many non-profits such as Wonderlab, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Bloomington Robotics Club and Susie's Place. They have been responsible for donating over 1000 Thanksgiving baskets to those in need over the last 27 years and have been active members of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation since locating here.

But one of my personal favorite facts about this great company is that they chose Bloomington not just because of its proximity to key original equipment manufacturers, i.e. car manufacturers, but because they knew that Bloomington would embrace different cultures, and would offer a diverse and talented workforce. So part of the reason we are gathered here today is because our reputation as being a community that values diversity and welcomes everyone reaches around the world, eventually resulting in good-paying, secure jobs for over 200 employees and counting, and the new facility we are announcing today.

I will share some of the highlights of our agreement; components of which will depend upon approvals from the Redevelopment Commission and the Common Council:

Tasus will:

  • Invest over $9 million to develop the property with an architecturally significant new building of 40,000 square feet or more

  • Create the Tasus North American Headquarters, Design and Development Center

  • Retain 34 full time professional positions and create at least 18 new positions: including a dozen engineers and other professionals

  • Ensure that the average wage of these positions will be commensurate with professional level salary plus benefits

  • Develop the property within a reasonable period of time, or return the land back to the RDC

The City/RDC/Council will:

  • Sell the land (estimated at 0.9 acres, more or less) to Tasus for $1.00

  • Provide Tasus a tax abatement equal to an Enterprise Zone Investment Deduction (averaging 70% on real property and 79% on personal property over a 10 year period)

  • Provide support for infrastructure development within the Trades District

  • Cause appropriate covenants, conditions, and restrictions to be adopted in the Trades District

The State will:

  • Through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation offer TASUS up to $300,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $43,750 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans.

The Parties mutually will:

  • Enter into a Project Agreement within 120 days of signature of the LOI, followed by a 120 day due diligence period

  • Close on the property no later than January 31, 2018

Melanie will be sharing some additional details, but I want you to know that the location of an architecturally significant design and development center and a headquarters location to boot is an ideal activation of this Trades District. Melanie, on behalf of the City, I am thrilled, and I thank you for your leadership and your commitment to this community.

What does this mean for the Trades District? It means we are going to see a facility more modern and high tech than we have ever had in the area. When this facility opens its doors, it will help usher in a new era of creative technical design, engineering and corporate leadership here in the Trades District. And robots! Did I mention the robots? Yes, get ready for robots to be in use, and probably on view, here in the Trades District. We've come a long way since furniture manufacturing.

It also means we are going to witness growth from 34 people at their present leased location to an expected 50 or more here by 2018. These are professional, good-paying jobs coming to the Trades District thanks to this exciting project.

Melanie is a remarkable leader of an award-winning company (they won the Toyota Certified Supplier Award last month for overall exceptional performance) and we are grateful and excited about their commitment to and investment in Bloomington.

Ten years from now these buildings and this land will be, if we do our jobs well, a thriving hub of activity, creativity, ingenuity and very, very importantly, excellent jobs for many residents of Bloomington. Indeed the 10th Street corridor as a whole will continue to be activated. Some of the engineers that Indiana University will soon be graduating may find their futures here. Those jobs may be writing code, designing a robot, thinking up the next big trend in technology - the future is unlimited in its possibilities if we continue to work together.

With that, please let me introduce the President and CEO of TASUS, an Indiana University Trustee, the president of the Japan-America Society of Indiana, a member of the State of Indiana Workforce Innovation Council, the first and youngest female president of a Japanese- owned manufacturing company in North America, and as we proudly claim, Bloomington's own, Melanie Walker!