Mayor Thomas M. Menino celebrates groundbreaking for Boston's innovation center
$5.5 million facility will be key home to the “collaboration economy”
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For Immediate Release
May 01, 2012
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
Press.Office@cityofboston.gov

Today Mayor Thomas M. Menino celebrated the groundbreaking on the Boston innovation center, a huge milestone for the Innovation District on the South Boston waterfront. The center will be a hub for entrepreneurs to meet and exchange ideas, to convene programs and events, and to build the City’s innovation economy.

“This is a key piece of innovation infrastructure for Boston,” said Mayor Menino.  “There are dozens of organizations in Boston looking to support entrepreneurs, hundreds of people interested in mentoring start-ups, and thousands of talented individuals looking to make their impact. This will be their gathering place.”  

Boston’s public innovation center will complement the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the district that is already home to MassChallenge, the world’s largest accelerator program; Babson, the country’s top school for entrepreneurship, and hundreds of innovative companies.

The facility will be a one-story, 12,000 square foot building with 9,000 square feet of modular meeting and event space, and a 3,000 square foot restaurant and test kitchen.  The center will be outfitted with vital assets to innovation companies, including video studios, hi-tech conference rooms, and modular meeting and gathering spaces.  Tim Rowe, founder of the Cambridge Innovation Center, will curate vibrant programming for the center, including training and mentorship for entrepreneurs, networking and relationship building activities, spaces to test new concepts, and opportunities to showcase innovative businesses and ideas.

The Mayor also announced a related crowd-sourcing initiative called “Where Will You Gather?” – an effort to source an official name for the innovation center.  Members of the public are invited to suggest names at WhereWillYouGather.org or to tweet them @IDGather.

“The Innovation District and Boston itself are giant invitations to start something new and to collaborate and change the world,” Mayor Menino said. “Our new innovation center will operate in that same spirit. We invite you to tell us:  When you dream and invent, when you learn and mentor, when you introduce and connect, when you test, and when you succeed, where will you gather?”

Rowe, the CEO and founder of the Cambridge Innovation Center, home to the largest cluster of startups in the world, will oversee daily operations.

“Entrepreneurs thrive when they can connect, trade ideas, and share talent,” Rowe said. “Mayor Menino and his partners at BGI/Morgan Stanley are making a huge investment collaboration-building with this project, and we know it will pay dividends for the region’s economy.”

The Boston Redevelopment Authority will lease the facility for 5 years with the option to renew for another 5 years thereafter.

The facility is anticipated to open in the fall and will employ up to 150 construction workers.  Mayor Menino thanked the development team that includes Boston Global Investors and Morgan Stanley, contractor John Moriarty & Associates, and architect Hacin & Associates.

“There is a great chance the next billion dollar idea will be thought of in this building,  probably written on the back of a napkin, or hashed out on an iPad over coffee,” said Mayor Menino. “I thank all of you who are making that happen.”


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