HAMMOND | Purdue University Calumet has bought the former Kaplan Commons building, moving closer to its plan to develop a commercialization center.
The vacant facility is located on the west side of Indianapolis Boulevard, south of 171st Street, about a half a mile west of campus,
Though Purdue Calumet previously budgeted the $1 million purchase cost of the 18,000 square feet structure, Chancellor Thomas L. Keon said school still needs to raise another $1 million from private donors to cover renovation and furnishing costs.
“We are indebted to Greg Kaplan for his willingness to sell this property to the university and for his foresight in understanding the valuable impact its transformation into a commercialization center will have on our region,” Keon said in a statement. “While we are excited to own a building near campus that will offer outstanding commercialization opportunities for our students, faculty and community, we understand there is plenty of work to do before this center can become a reality.”
Keon also said the prospect of occupying a currently vacant structure will enable Purdue Calumet to contribute to a more vibrant Indianapolis Boulevard business community, according to a news release.
The center would focus on developing businesses around university-developed concepts.
Although the school already has the Purdue Research Park facility in Merrillville, that facility is managed by the main campus of the Purdue Research Foundation in West Lafayette. The new commercialization center would be a separate entity.
The Purdue Calumet Commercialization Center aims to serve as a catalyst for economic development and technological transfer throughout Northwest Indiana. The center will encourage collaboration among faculty experts, community members and students who desire assistance bringing their ideas to market.
“Our region is ripe for innovation, and Purdue Calumet has unique areas of expertise to make innovation happen,” Keon said. “... As a university, we must address not only the existing needs of our communities, but also provide leadership in developing industries of tomorrow — industries that will employ our graduates and enhance the economic development of northwest Indiana.”