The Opinion Page of Tuesday's edition of The Shelbyville News contained a submission credited to Dr. Willie Reed, dean of Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine. In the article, Dr. Reed expounds on the partnership with Shelby County and the City of Shelbyville concerning the proposed $10 million equine surgical hospital and diagnostic center to be located "next to Intelliplex and in proximity to the Indiana Downs race track in Shelbyville."
In the eleven paragraphs that follow, Intelliplex is mentioned six additional times. At one point, Dr. Reed suggests that Purdue's equine venture would gain from the benefits associated with the presence of a certified technology park.
Please don't misunderstand. From what I can determine, the Purdue equine center is a commendable and worthwhile pursuit, even though it's anywhere from two to four years away from fruition. I also realize Dr. Reed faces a major challenge of fundraising in order to secure millions of dollars in additional investment for the project. Maybe Dr. Reed wrote the article to support his fundraising activities.
But after re-reading the article it almost seemed as if the letter had been written by someone associated with Intelliplex Technology Park. I know that sounds preposterous, so perhaps Dr. Reed was merely asked to write a letter in support of Intelliplex Park's re-certification. If not, then Intelliplex officials should forward a copy of the article to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation posthaste. It certainly couldn't hurt.
As a consequence, Shelbyville and Intelliplex officials must try to convince the IEDC that their failure to comply is due to a "bad economy" or they must attempt to re-interpret the terms of the certification agreement. Of course, there's little doubt that they will also continue to blame other people and things for their failure to comply. That's pitiful.
Major Hospital needs Intelliplex, the City of Shelbyville needs Intelliplex, Shelby County needs Intelliplex. What's not needed is continued condescension and bluster from proponents of Intelliplex Park. Thoughtful contributions from articulate individuals like Dr. Reed are far more useful.
For those of you who are interested, Dr. Reed's newspaper article and an earlier story about the proposed equine center, plus a related IBJ story follows:
Setting the stage for Purdue success in Shelby County
By Willie M. Reed, DVM, PhD
The Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine is pleased and honored to be partnering with Shelby County and the City of Shelbyville on a proposed $10 million equine hospital and surgical center to be located next to Intelliplex and in proximity to the Indiana Downs race track in Shelbyville.
This project has been years in the planning stages, and with the confirmed forward-looking financial commitment by Shelbyville and Shelby County, construction of this state-of-the-art 18,000-square-foot facility could begin as early as the first quarter of 2012. This project is a stellar example of a true win-win partnership involving local government, higher education, the veterinary medical profession and private industry.
Many Hoosiers may not realize the multi-billion-dollar scope of the equine industry in the Midwest and the urgent need for veterinary support and research. In Indiana alone, multiple thousands of Hoosiers raise or stable horses of all types. A study conducted in collaboration with the USDA a few years ago showed that total equine-related assets in the Hoosier state exceed $4.6 billion. That's not a small industry.
Given its ongoing commitment to innovation, the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine is excited about the prospect of advancing equine medicine through development of this world-class regional veterinary referral facility that will serve the needs of Hoosier horse owners, trainers and enthusiasts, as well as the broader billion-dollar equine industry in Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois.
The strategic location of Intelliplex on the Interstate 74 corridor adjacent to Indiana Downs provides an ideal site where such a diagnostic and surgical center can grow in prominence and define the region as the equine capital of Indiana.
If all goes as planned - and we have every reason to expect it will - the new Purdue equine hospital also has the potential to jump-start a strategy for creating an expanding animal life sciences cluster in and around the Intelliplex technology park.
Once built and in operation, the equine facility will bring university faculty to the region, including a board-certified veterinary surgeon in residence and veterinary technologists (the nurses in the veterinary medical profession). Additionally, the facility will incorporate novel and innovative approaches to veterinary practice, granting hospital privileges to area veterinarians in a first-of-its-kind of arrangement for our state. Furthermore, this facility will provide a superb opportunity for new research studies, which likely will attract the attention of major commercial companies linked to horses and other large animals.
This growing animal life sciences cluster will benefit from the expanding presence of Major Health Partners in Intelliplex, as well as the state support and benefits associated with Certified Technology Park status.
For both the animal and human life sciences to succeed at Intelliplex, shared laboratory resources and medical expertise remains critical. The expanding vision of Major Hospital and Intelliplex will thus directly contribute to the success of the proposed Purdue Equine Diagnostic and Surgical Center.
If you read the formal Strategic Plan for the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine (which is available online), you'll see that the school is committed to expanding its national leadership position and influence. As the school achieves success in accomplishing its goals, Shelby County will directly benefit from Purdue's national reputation.
Given the complexity and the urgent needs within the equine industry, the association with the Purdue veterinary school likely will translate into new jobs with a technology and life sciences focus and attract related companies to the area. The presence of Purdue faculty and staff in the county also will increase the potential for broader engagement involving other Purdue schools and university-related activities.
The Purdue Equine Surgical and Diagnostic Center is destined to become a world-class facility for the Intelliplex region, and we look forward to working with city and county officials to bring it to reality for the residents of Shelbyville, Shelby County and Indiana as a whole.
When members of the Shelbyville Common Council met earlier this week and adopted a formalized equine center agreement, the particulars of the pact and the relationship between the city, county and the Purdue University Research Foundation came into focus.
For example, all three parties are protected by "opt-out clauses" in case the deal fails. According to terms of the agreement, the city or county may back out of the deal if construction on the horse facility fails to start by June 30, 2014.
"In that case, both the city and county would recoup their investments in proportion to their respective contributions minus appropriate expenses," said city attorney Michelle Cobourn-Baurley.
Mayor Scott Furgeson noted at Monday night's council meeting that if the foundation buys land and fails to build by the June 30, 2014, deadline, the city and county can opt out and take over ownership of the land.
"The land sort of acts as our collateral - our guarantee that the facility will get built," Furgeson said.
If the agreement is terminated by the foundation before project construction begins, the land would be quitclaimed to the city and county and held in joint interest by both.
"That simply means the land would be transferred quickly to the city and county and without warranties," said the city attorney.
The foundation is protected in the agreement, as well. If suitable land cannot be purchased on reasonable terms, the foundation can opt out, and all parties recoup their investments. Likewise, if Purdue University is unable to raise enough money for the project, they may exit the agreement and return the city and county their investments with no liabililty or obligation.
In mid-August, the city and county embarked on a partnership with the Purdue Research Foundation to build a university-supported $10 million equine center near Indiana Downs.
The city and county have agreed to pay a combined $2.3 million - $1.15 million each - from either casino proceeds or economic development income tax revenues. About $1.5 million is coming from a universtiy endowment, while the university has promised to fund the remaining $6.2 million through private fundraising.
Preliminary plans call for an 18,000-square-foot, one-floor facility costing $4.6 million and built on a 71-acre parcel of land fronting Old Michigan Road and Basset Road. Negotiations are underway for the purchase of the land, described by local realtors as "the Williamson property." It is estimated to cost $1.4 million, or about $20,000 per acre.
Dr. Willie Reed, dean of veterinarian medicine at Purdue, told local officials in August that he envisions a world-class regional equine diagnostic and surgical center a short distance from the Indiana Downs horse racing facility.
"This will expand opportunities for regional equine practitioners and establish Shelby County as the equine center for the state of Indiana," he said.
Supporters of the equine center have said the facility will begin by specializing in horses but eventually could expand to include other large animals. They are hoping the facility generates spinoff industries such as pharmaceuticals, lab testing and equine forage growing and feeding.
According to the terms of the agreement, the $2.3 million from the city and county has been deposited into an interest-bearing escrow account for use by the foundation to purchase the necessary land, design and build the facility, which would be operated by the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine "to promote the health and treatment of horses, including race horses."
The agreement also prevents a third party other than Purdue University from benefitting from the equine center arrangement. It has been signed by Mayor Scott Furgeson, Shelby County Board of Commissioners President Tony Newton and Purdue Research Foundation senior vice president, treasurer and chief operating officer Joseph B. Hornett.
By Kathleen McLaughlin - The IBJ - August 29, 2009
Despite recent investment by Major Health Partners, Shelbyville's technology park is about as far from meeting state standards as it was two years ago.
Intelliplex Park, the 141-acre development off State Road 9, has until Oct. 5 to apply to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. for recertification. If Commerce Secretary Mitch Roob gives his blessing, Intelliplex may continue to capture state sales and income taxes that provide an incentive for new businesses. It's unclear, however, how the IEDC will react to the current state of affairs. Two years ago, then-Commerce Secretary Nathan Feltman threatened to revoke Intelliplex's certification if it didn't construct a flexible-use building and create more high-tech jobs.
Shelbyville Mayor Scott Furgeson said the city is still working toward the prescribed targets. "With the economy, that was a big killer for us," Furgeson said. "We had some good prospects we were working with. They didn't pan out."
IEDC spokeswoman Blair West said no one from the agency would comment before ruling on the park's status.
Eileen Walker, CEO of the Association of University Research Parks in Tucson, Ariz., said two years would have been a "very ambitious" deadline for new construction, even during the boom years. "Research parks are as affected as other developments," she said. "Everything is pretty well constricted."
Intelliplex is one of 18 technology parks that have received grants and tax revenue. Since breaking ground and becoming certified in 2003, Intelliplex has received a $1.2 million technology development grant from the state. The park has captured $465,841 in income and sales taxes, out of a potential maximum of $5 million.
The tech park program began under Democratic governors Frank O'Bannon and Joe Kernan. Gov. Mitch Daniels certified three more of the parks. Two years ago, the administration began to question whether the tech parks differed from any other real estate development and began scrutinizing their progress.
Intelliplex was not exactly brimming with high-tech tenants. The park's occupants included facilities owned by the not-for-profit Major Health Partners and a plastics-molding company, as well as professional offices and a Santa Fe Steakhouse. The park also has a conference center, which Shelbyville built and financed partly with the state technology grant.
Ten other parks, including the one in downtown Indianapolis, have come up for review this year, and all were recertified.
Shelbyville and Major Health will be working together on the quest for recertification because the hospital actually owns the land. The city and hospital also team up on marketing the available property with Major Health retaining CP Richard Ellis. All told, public and private sources have invested more than $30 million at Intelliplex. The park, which includes ob-gyn and cancer treatment centers, hosts 261 employees with a payroll of $11 million. Major Health's initial investment was $2.3 million for the land, plus contributions toward $7 million in new infrastructure.
Shelbyville's Redevelopment Commission pays the tax revenue captured inside Intelliplex back to the hospital, in exchange for offering the land at a discount. By buying the land, Major Health provided Intelliplex with "patient capital," Furgeson said. "It certainly does not represent a profit-making deal for the hospital."
The only recent addition to Intelliplex is the hospital's $8 million orthopedic surgery center, ReNovo. The center led the hospital to create 11 jobs. That's far short of the 50 new jobs required in the agreement Shelbyville struck with the IEDC in 2007.
Furgeson and Major Health CEO Jack Horner met early in August with IEDC officials. Furgeson said the discussion was "positive and straightforward." Shelbyville and Major Health are talking up a three-pronged "cluster" strategy, focusing on life sciences research, animal health, and Internet technology or call centers.
Intelliplex still lacks affiliation with a research university. Furgeson said representatives of IU and Purdue will visit soon to talk about potential partnerships, including clinical trials. Furgeson also is touting Purdue's interest in building a horse hospital near Shelbyville's racino. The city and Shelby County recently agreed to put $2.3 million in racino tax revenue toward a $10 million hospital and research center.
Willie Reed, dean of Purdue's School of Veterinary Medicine, said the hospital wouldn't likely sit within Intelliplex. He does think it could attract feed or equipment suppliers.
"This is the beginning of making Shelby County an equine-focused area of the state," Reed said. Purdue would have to raise the money necessary to build the hospital.