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The Reimagine Competition

The Reimagine Competition is a contest for high school and college students to enlist their imagination and ideas in reimagining the reuse and repurposing of industrial buildings in South Bend.

The contest is inspired by the transformation of the buildings now housing LangLabs and Vested Interest in the Sample Street industrial corridor. There are many industrial buildings sitting vacant in South Bend, whose owners do not know what to do with the properties. These buildings are large in their square footage and located in underserved areas of town. The buildings (known as Class B or C properties) are hard to sell, often sitting on the market for 2 years, all the while costing their owners money. Realtors, only motivated by transactions and commissions, often give up on these buildings when they don’t sell, and aren’t incentivized to think of creative ways to monetize or use these spaces. This competition will help to spark this creativity.

It is also inspired by the Smart Growth America initiative, in which a technical assistance grant was awarded to the City of South Bend to research ways to spur the resurgence of manufacturing as a contributor to urban economic growth. The Smart Growth America team will be in South Bend April 23-26, and this competition would be part of that week of events.

The competition organizers, led by Invanti Fellow and entrepreneur Celena Green, would select 3 industrial buildings in the South Bend area, that have been vacant for over a year but are compliant with all local laws and ordinances. Students (individually or in teams) from South Bend local high schools and colleges would be introduced to these 3 area industrial buildings, given a virtual or in person tour and some background history, and then challenged to reimagine the use of that space. A panel of judges would vote on the most promising ideas. There will be 3 winners, who wiill receive small prizes and media visibility for their ideas, and internship opportunities.

Funded by South Bend, IN (February 2019)