In comparison, just 30 miles south of Muncie is a former manufacturing facility that has recently found new life as the first city-funded Internet of Things (IoT) incubator in the U.S. But the Indiana IoT lab is just one example of old becoming new again. Because users and consumers are evolving and demanding something different, the appetite for these unique assets is ravenous.
Across these industrial towns and cities, you will find Midwesterners taking pride in their past by breathing life back into the facilities that the economy had left behind. That being said, conversion of these warehouses and plants is not for the faint of heart, as older industrial spaces have their own set of unique issues. While sound in structure and rooted in history, not all buildings are a turnkey process, as base plumbing and electric systems often need to be revisited. In addition, these spaces can typically present environmental hazards as with lead-based paint and asbestos. Luckily, Midwesterners have never shied away from rolling up their sleeves and getting a little dirty. Thus, all across the Rust Belt we’re seeing unexpected innovation happening in old manufacturing facilities that will succeed even as technology advances.
Take spaces such as Electric Works in Fort Wayne, the Detroit Foundation Hotel, the Bottleworks District in Indianapolis, the Cleveland Aquarium, and now the Indiana IoT lab in Fishers, which will all breed new life for the future.
Innovative Re-Use of Midwest Facilities
Indiana IoT labFishers, IN
Indiana’s first IoT lab is driving innovation across Indiana’s key industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, and logistics
Bottleworks DistrictWayne Township, IN
The former Indianapolis Coca-Cola bottling plant is being recreated by Hendricks Commercial into a $300 million, mixed-use development on the already “hot” cultural district, Massachusetts Ave.
Cleveland AquariumCleveland, OH
A building originally named Powerhouse — a Cleveland icon that once served the purpose of managing and controlling electric streetcars and railways — has found new purpose by re-opening its doors in 2012 as the Cleveland Aquarium.
Electric WorksFort Wayne, IN
The abandoned GE factory in Fort Wayne, Indiana, will house converted loft apartments, incubator startup office spaces, a food hall, and more.
Detroit Foundation HotelDetroit, MI
In a five-year renovation project, the former Detroit Fire Department facility, built in 1929, has been transformed into creative space that is seen as a hangout for locals and out-of-town guests.
Indianapolis, Indiana, Bottleworks District
From its founding in 1920, the Indianapolis Coca-Cola bottling plant was one of the showplaces of American industry, recognized for both beauty of design and efficiency of equipment. The plant was said to be the largest bottling plant in the world, producing 2.4 million bottles of Coca-Cola per week. The plant was sold to the Indianapolis public schools in 1969 and remained in their control until they sold to Hendricks Commercial in late 2017. Hendricks will be creating a $300 million, mixed-use development on the already “hot” cultural district, Massachusetts Ave — a perfect fusion of past and present encompassing 12 acres of robust arts, culture, industrial architecture, entertainment, eateries, residences, shopping, and one-of-a-kind progressive office space.
Fort Wayne, Indiana, Electric Works
Detroit Foundation Hotel
While the Rust Belt has seen dramatic change over the decades, the Midwest States are bringing innovation and creativity closer to home — while using their traditional roots to do so. As a result of this kind of creative thinking and innovation, these Rust Belt towns will once again find new life as booming metros that can rival any coastal city.