Lowell, MA – Governor Deval Patrick today announced the location of University of Massachusetts Lowell’s (UMass Lowell) new Innovation Center at 110 Canal Street in the Hamilton Canal District of Lowell. The Governor also announced $1 million in additional capital funding to help complete the construction of the building, which will house UMass Lowell’s new Innovation Hub and the expansion of the University’s successful Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center.
“We invest in innovation because we believe in enabling and encouraging industries that are using their brainpower to help shape our future,” said Governor Patrick. “Our proven growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure has positioned the Commonwealth as a global leader in key innovation economy sectors, and we look forward to seeing the great work that will come out of the Innovation Hub.”’
The Innovation Hub will serve as a co-working space that will allow early-stage entrepreneurs and ventures to test products and business concepts, and will link start-up innovators and entrepreneurs with the research and development, business mentoring and financial resources needed to develop a new business venture in Massachusetts. It will also help support the development, launch and commercialization of other tech-based innovations and companies with high-growth potential.
“Our ability to identify opportunities to accelerate our innovation economy is part of the reason why Massachusetts has earned the top spot for economic competitiveness, and also why we are a global leader in the innovation sector,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “We remain committed to supporting innovation and research in every region of the Commonwealth.”
The center will be located inside the Freudenberg Building, a 55,000 square foot office building at the site of 110 Canal Street. This site was selected based on the University’s examination of successful acceleration and incubator models around the country, its close proximity to the University, a floor layout that will foster entrepreneurial activity, close proximity to urban amenities including housing, dining, transportation and its highly visible location near major roadways.
“The UMass Lowell Innovation Hub, which will be the first commercial component of the city of Lowell’s sweeping Hamilton Canal District redevelopment project, will provide space for as many as 40 entrepreneurs and startups in the medical device and tech sectors,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “Within this business incubator, they will be able to access the resources of the university, including the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center and the expertise of faculty researchers, as well as the guidance of mentors from the venture community and larger, established companies. We’ll also bring these fledgling companies together with the advanced manufacturing supply-chain, which is critical to moving ideas down the pathway to patent and production. I would like to thank Governor Patrick and Secretary Bialecki for their support for this effort.”
Earlier on Thursday, Governor Patrick joined developers, city officials and local legislators for a walking tour of Jackson Street in downtown Lowell, where he was able to see firsthand the progress that has been made in the Hamilton Canal District. On the tour Governor Patrick visited the site of the Counting House, a 52-rental unit mill renovation project that will include 26 affordable units and 26 market-rate units, as well as the Mill No. 5 project, a mill renovation that will include retail shops, artist studios and start-up company space.
“Massachusetts has always invested in and marshaled some of the best minds and resources in the world, beginning almost two hundred years ago when mill workers spun and wove the first threads of our nation’s industrial history right here in Lowell,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. “Today, thanks to that industrious spirit, Massachusetts has a modern, unique and dynamic ecosystem that combines academia, small and large businesses, and strong public/private partnerships. Governor Patrick’s leadership and partnership has helped foster a new generation of innovation in the Commonwealth, especially right here in the Merrimack Valley. Today’s announcement continues this momentum and helps secure Massachusetts as a leading hub of American innovation.”
“This is welcome news for the City of Lowell,” said Lowell Mayor Rodney M. Elliot. “The Freudenburg building is one of the premier pieces of commercial space in the City of Lowell. The location of UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub in the Hamilton Canal District is the next logical step in the City of Lowell’s quest to continually reinvent itself. The recognition of Lowell’s remarkable journey from factory city to research and development hub is gratifying. We welcome the opportunity to showcase what the City of Lowell has to offer to business people around the state and the country.”
“The Innovation Hub will fulfill the fundamental vision of the Hamilton Canal District by providing an incubating space for entrepreneurs and startups to grow, share ideas, innovate and invest in a welcoming commercial environment,” said Senator Eileen Donoghue. “The innovation economy is thriving in Lowell, and thanks to the leadership of Governor Patrick and Secretary Bialecki, this innovation economy will continue to grow and play a central role in the social and economic development in Massachusetts.”
Thursday’s announcement builds on Governor Patrick’s recent filing of a new economic development package, An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity, which provides tools and training so our workforce is prepared to meet the needs of employers, invests in our Gateway Cities to promote economic development across the entire state and provides incentives to create jobs and stimulate the economy. This bill furthers the Administration’s proven growth strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure that has led to record job creation in Massachusetts and has made the Commonwealth a global leader in key innovation economy sectors.
In February, Governor Patrick met with area innovators to discuss the Administration’s dedication to fostering the innovation economy and entrepreneurship opportunities across the Commonwealth. The roundtable discussion was held at the Merrimack Valley Sandbox, a Lowell-based non-profit which works to spur entrepreneurship and innovation in the cities of Lowell, Lawrence and beyond. During the roundtable, the Governor awarded Merrimack Valley Sandbox a grant aimed to boost entrepreneur mentoring activities.