The expansion of the Cambridge Innovation Center to St. Louis is taking on bigger dimensions than originally planned.
CIC is well known for providing space and services to startups in the Boston area. It's attracted hundreds of startups and established tech companies such as Amazon and Facebook since its founding by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1999.
When CIC announced it was opening its first location outside of the Boston area, it initially planned to develop 30,000 square feet in the @4240 building within St. Louis' innovation district, Cortex. That space is expected to open this fall. But CIC St. Louis now has an additional 87,000 square feet to work with.
As of June 1, CIC St. Louis started managing and operating the Center for Emerging Technologies (CET).
"We’re completely doubling down on this whole idea of St. Louis being this incredible place for entrepreneurship and innovation," said Dougan Sherwood, CIC St. Louis’ co-founder and managing director. "We started with 30,000 square feet @4240 in Cortex and it didn’t take long to pivot from that deal and really look at another opportunity. That’s CET."
The new entity is called CIC@CET.
CET was founded in 1998 to provide specialized facilities support services, training and access to capital for entrepreneurs in the fields of bioscience, medical and advanced technology. Cortex took over management in late 2010. Cortex President and CEO Dennis Lower said there has been an “explosion” of incubators in St. Louis since CET began in the late ‘90s.
"To differentiate CET and continue to be a contributing 'member' of the tech support infrastructure, we are renovating CET’s space to mirror CIC Cambridge, and contracting with CIC to inject its 'secret sauce' and energy in the Cortex District," Lower said in an email. "CIC is a master of space design and management."
CIC St. Louis will begin renovation of the historic Dorris Motor Car building, where CET is located, beginning in September. Sherwood said plans to move the reception area, create conference rooms and develop co-working space should be completed by the end of the year.
"CIC is really known in Cambridge for creating these wonderful spaces that, the moment you walk in the door, you have this sort of wave of energy that comes and hits you," he said. "We want that to happen at CET as well."
A second construction phase will create smaller work spaces in the building’s second floor. Sherwood said CIC wants to develop space where one- to three-people teams can work. When the renovation is complete in the spring of 2015, he expects as many as 600 people could rent space there.
In the meantime, the 20 startups with about 125 people currently renting space in CET are being grandfathered in. CIC@CET is looking for new tenants as well.
"We’re inheriting a wonderful group of clients," Sherwood said. "It’s a very large facility and there’s definitely space available for new companies to come in."
Tenants will pay a space fee plus a $125 per person service fee. Those in co-working spaces will pay a flat $200 per person service fee. Sherwood said services include everything high-functioning offices should have, down to coffee and high-speed internet.
"Sort of the general concept of CIC is you take your computer and bring it with you and we take care of everything else," he said.
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