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6 Things You Should Realize About the Innovation District

From Venessa Wong's piece in Bloomberg Businessweek (Bloomberg—there he is again!):

6) The first rule of the Innovation District: There is no Innovation District. "Technically speaking, the Innovation District is not even a district, since it has no clear boundaries. (Mayor Menino even declared customized jewelry company Gemvara, located across the channel in the Leather District, a part of the Innovation District at an event)."

5) There is little to no government backing for the kind of innovation that the Menino administration means to encourage: "In fact, the latest company to announce its move to the Innovation District is Trillium Brewing, which will join Harpoon Brewery among the district’s beermakers." (Yes, brewing, which may be 9,000 years old, counts as innovation in the Innovation District.)

4) A lot of the district lacked/lacks the infrastructure that techies—and humans at large—crave: "For example, many of the area’s old buildings were not equipped with Internet. Some didn’t even have heat."

3) Rents are cheaper for tech and life sciences firms in the district than they are in, oh, say, Cambridge's Kendall Square. But! "Yet as the district has grown, rent has increased at an alarming rate to many of the businesses there."

2) The city is not letting up in its promotion of the Innovation District. In fact, you might say it's put all its chips on "tech" for economic growth, and the district's (both the physical and the conceptual one) is a big, big part of that. "While most neighborhoods get their names from the existing character of the area, say, Chinatown or the Financial District, here the city chose a name—perhaps even a brand—to attract the kind of community it hopes to build."

1) And it seems to be working. The loose parameters and the government cheerleading make it all but fail-safe. "Boston’s Innovation District? Nope, never heard of it, an MBA student in Boston told me. It’s right over Fort Point Channel. Oh, the Seaport District. I thought that was just the sh*tty part of town. ... Even if the area hasn’t completely shaken its reputation as a sh*tty ? lackluster part of town, the wave of development under way seems destined to change this quickly."

· Boston's Innovation District Eagerly Awaits More Innovators [BW]
· South Boston All In on Google Move from Cambridge [Curbed Boston]

Innovation District

1 Marina Park Drive, Boston, MA 02101