The Forge Celebrates Major Milestone with ‘Topping Off’ Ceremony

The following was written from a press release:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Bloomington’s community came together on Thursday, March 28, to commemorate a significant moment in the construction of The Forge as the final steel beam was installed in a celebratory ‘Topping Off’ Ceremony.

The event, attended by Mayor Kerry Thomson, John Fernandez, Senior Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at The Mill, along with The Mill staff and board members, Redevelopment Commissioners, Trades District Advisory Board, BEDC, Weddle Bros, Building Associates, and other community leaders, marked a pivotal milestone in The Forge construction project.

The Forge at Trades District, a new sustainably designed building spanning 22,000 square feet, is poised to provide Class A office space for Bloomington’s burgeoning tech sector. Funded by a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and $9.3 million in matching funds from the City of Bloomington, the project underscores the city’s commitment to fostering innovation.

“The Forge is a critical piece of our vision for a modern, sustainable urban neighborhood that nurtures creativity and entrepreneurship,” remarked Pat East, Executive Director of The Mill. “This project will help us brand Bloomington as a lively tech sector hub, attracting private investment, employment, and visitors.”

Linking Indiana University and The Mill with NSWC Crane / Westgate to the south and 16 Tech to the North, the development of the Trades District couldn’t be timelier.

Attendees had the opportunity to leave their mark on The Forge’s future by signing a beam that was integrated into the structure during yesterday’s event.

“This project isn’t just about buildings and businesses,” emphasized John Fernandez. “It’s about building a future where Bloomington thrives as a center for innovation and opportunity. And the best part? This future is under construction right now, right here in Bloomington.”

The Forge is set to be available for lease starting November 1, 2024. More information can be found at

About the Trades District

The Trades District, formerly an industrial area in Bloomington, is undergoing a transformation fueled by public and private investment into a vibrant hub for technology and innovation. With a growing number of tech companies, startups, and coworking spaces, the district is positioning itself as a key player in Bloomington’s tech scene.

About The Mill

The Mill serves as the heart of southern Indiana’s startup ecosystem. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, its mission is to ignite Bloomington’s innovation economy by launching and accelerating startups, with a vision to become Indiana’s center of gravity for entrepreneurship. The Mill plays a pivotal role in the development of The Forge.

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