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AMP-ing Things Up

The AMP at 16 Tech Brings a Dynamic Culinary and Event Space to Indy

Writer / Shay McCoy
Photographer / Michael Durr

Food halls have seen a resurgence over the years as a place for community and cuisine to thrive. Local businesses in Indianapolis have especially benefited from this food hall revolution, and residents have also found these spaces to be highly dynamic and engaging. When the people behind 16 Tech Innovation District in Indy established their master plan for this area of town, they always envisioned a space where neighbors could gather and form a community hub revolving around food. This nonprofit repurposed an antiquated water company building and service garage, transforming the space into a place for people to flock to.

The Artisan Marketplace, or the AMP, is part of a 20-year project within the 16 Tech Innovation District that covers 50 acres of the near-westside of Indianapolis. Local branding and creative studio Matinee Creative helped bring the vision of the AMP to life, and create a brand that is symbolic of the space’s energy and innovation.

The AMPJacqueline Eckhardt, director of communications, describes the AMP as an urban downtown-style development with unique assets” including a food hall, makerspace and green space. A large walking bridge connecting the downtown area with 16 Tech is in the works to further facilitate synergy and connection between these areas. A hotel, ample parking and more residential structures are also planned for the area.

The AMP was always meant to be a place where visitors could spend all day, with breakfast vendors like Tinker Coffee Co. situated in the front of the space, and dinner options like Poke Guru and Taste of Innova along the perimeter. Eckhardt says you can surprise yourself every time you come in,” and appreciates that the area was always meant to be well-connected and highly engaged with the community. The AMP is considered an incubator for local entrepreneurs to try their hand at starting and scaling their business ideas. Fifty percent of the businesses inside the AMP are new concepts, and 65% of the businesses are minority owned.

Eckhardt says the minds behind the AMP wanted to think differently on how to use the space,” and create new ways for how these spaces interact. The 21 spots inside the space are all built out of shipping containers or food stalls, providing endless opportunities for design, branding and layout. Vendors who own spots like Poke Guru, PB & J Factory, the Food Architect, Boba & Everything, BEAST, Mambos Cheesesteak Grill and more have the ability to scale and eventually grow their businesses into brick-and-mortar structures. The AMP also offers a space called Melon Kitchen to provide a ghost kitchen for black chefs to hone their craft. Different vendors are open at different mealtimes, but visitors will find something to dine on for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even a spot to play pinball. The AMP can also be rented out as a space for public and private events or buyouts.

The AMP The goal of the AMP as stated by Eckhardt is “to be a community gathering place – we want to be open to everyone to gather.” The ability for entrepreneurs in the community to scale helps foster innovation and provide a space for art, culture, and civic opportunities and events. Visitors can come to the AMP and be enveloped in a colorful, exciting and engaging environment. There is also a lot of opportunity for vendors within the space to collaborate. Tinker Coffee sells products from Yamallama Delicatessen. Eckhardt says the stories are the best part,” since each vendor is deeply connected to their business.

The AMP is continually changing and evolving with new vendors, events and more. The outdoor patio space is officially open for the season, and soon a brewery and taproom will be on-site. Scoops, an ice cream spot, will also be opening up just in time for the warmer months. Other community partners have their sights set on the energetic environment of the space. The Marion County Purdue Extension team will soon be holding courses inside the AMP. During the month of May, bikers can bike from the AMP to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and back for the “Bike to the 500” event, and a Sixways Markets event with thrift vendors and local makers will pop up in the space. There will also be yoga in June each Saturday and DJs throughout the summer months, with more programming to come at this dynamic space.

For more info, visit theampindy.com.

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