Inventrek Technology Park is back! Hit hard by the Aug. 24,
2016, tornadoes in Kokomo, the facility has been closed while a complete
restoration was underway.
It’s now time to reopen the facility to the community with a
grand reopening celebration on Thursday, May 11, at the 700 E. Firmin St.
Operated by the Greater Kokomo Economic Development
Alliance, Inventrek is one of 24 state Certified Tech Parks in Indiana. It’s a
facility that houses a business incubator program and The Shared Drive, Howard
County’s first coworking space.
When the tornado hit on Aug. 24, nearly 200 people were in
the building. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but the building itself
didn’t fare as well.
Major damage to the roof led to significant water damage
throughout the facility. That damage caused the immediate closure of the
What followed was a 7-month, $3.4 million renovation of the
98,000-square-foot facility. Remediation efforts began immediately and resulted
in a nearly bare bone facility that required a complete restoration.
It was a major project. The entire roof was replaced, new
walls, carpeting, wall coverings, lighting, HVAC system, nearly 100 windows
replaced. With such a major project in such a large facility, it resulted in
some shocking numbers of materials: For example, 27,480 new ceiling tiles were
installed. Contractors used 498 gallons of paint primer and 986 gallons of
An average workweek in the building was 568 hours. From demo
to completion, 26,000 work hours have been accrued.
The renovation is now complete and the building is better
Tenants returning to
The closure left the building’s 27 tenants without office
Inventrek staff immediately began looking for temporary office
space for the displaced tenants. Thanks to two local businessmen, Inventrek staff
was able to help secure temporary office space for 6 business incubator tenants
and the coworking space within a week of the storm.
For the other displaced tenants, the business community in
Kokomo truly came together to ensure these startup and growing businesses were
able to survive the interim while the Inventrek building was renovated.
Property owners around the community allowed Inventrek
tenants to operate under temporary or shorter term leases, so that they could
easily return to Inventrek when the time came. And in many cases, property
owners offered discount rent rates to make the start-up businesses’ operating
costs more comparable to the incubator program rates here at Inventrek.
All of these efforts allowed all but one business in the
Inventrek incubator program to continue despite being without office space so
early in their existence.
Now that the Inventrek facility is reopening, 16 of the 27
tenants have returned to again operate as part of the incubator program. More
of the original 27 tenants are expected to return once their temporary leasing
situation allows. For others, they are now operating their business in
permanent office space outside the incubator program.