Chamber News

N2 Innovation District / Needham / Newton
September 16, 2016 Likes Comments

New I-95 Access Opens Gateway to N2 Innovation District

Highway ramp provides faster access for jobs and economic growth to

both Newton and Needham

Needham MA, September 16, 2016 – Today the Massachusetts Department of Transportation officially opened the new gateway to the N2 Innovation District, providing access to jobs and increased economic growth for Newton and Needham. The unveiling of the first part of interchange 19 connecting I-95 to Kendrick Street provides faster and easier entry for employers, employees and residents working and living in 500-acre mixed use area along the Newton-Needham line.

A recent economic development study noted that the N2 (pronounced: EN-squared) Innovation District has the components to fuel future growth. The district is already home to such innovation-driven companies as TripAdvisor, PTC, Turbine, Big Belly Solar, Verastem, Karyopharm Therapeutics, Grasshopper, SharkNinja and Building 36, and construction is well underway on a number of new projects that will bring in businesses of all types and sizes.

The new exits are just the start of the transformation facing the region. Over the next few years more commercial offices, restaurants, retail stores, hotels and of hundreds of residential units will be added to the N2 Innovation District.

“The new ramp is exactly the kind of infrastructure necessary to make TripAdvisor more accessible to our current and future employees,” said Beth Grous, chief people officer at TripAdvisor. “We chose this area for the strategic location, access to top talent and affordable real estate. We appreciate all the support we’ve received from local government as we continue to grow both locally and globally.”

Infrastructure Provides Engine for Innovation and Growth

Interchange 19 marks just part of the infrastructure improvements underway in the area, that include widening of roads and bridges, creating bike lanes and pedestrian access. The exit ramps opening I-95 to commuters from the north are scheduled to open in 2018. Also, construction on the Elliot Street Bridge connecting Newton and Needham is underway and a long-planned update to Needham Street in Newton and Highland Ave in Needham, including the widening of a bridge that connects the communities across the Charles River, is funded and expected to begin in 2017.

“Employers, employees and residents have been waiting years for this new gateway to the N2 Innovation District and we fully expect improved access will help bring new businesses, jobs and tax revenue to both communities,” said Greg Reibman, president of the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber. “We are especially grateful to our municipal officials and our local legislators who have been lobbying for decades for this new exit, and to MassDOT and everyone involved in this project for completing this portion of the project ahead of schedule,” Reibman added.

Housing: A Key Component for Innovation

In addition to the commercial expansion, hundreds of new units of workforce housing are approved for the district. In Needham, Normandy Real Estate Partners have approval to build a 390-unit apartment complex adjacent to the existing Charles River Landing. A separate 136-unit project has been approved nearby at Greendale Avenue. This spring, Needham Town Meeting approved a zoning to allow for mixed-use residential development of up to 250 apartments in the Wexford Street area.

In Newton, Mayor Setti Warren released a comprehensive housing plan which calls for hundreds of units of housing inside the Innovation District on a parcel along Needham and Oak Streets owned by Northland Investment Corporation. A new boutique concept grocery store, new restaurants and two new hotels are also anticipated in other parts of the N2 Innovation District.

The economic develop study notes a number of data points in which the Newton Needham area excels, including a highly educated workforce and the 1166 patents registered to residents in 2015, translating to a rate of 8.98 patents per 1000 residents, far ahead of the national and state averages of 1.02 and 1.52 respectively. In addition, one out of every five residents in the two communities are foreign born, positioning the area as especially welcoming to attracting international businesses and entrepreneurs, perhaps most notably from Israel.

About the N2 Innovation District

The N2 Innovation District (pronounced En-squared) is a 500-acre area along I-95 and the Charles River in Needham and Newton that is quickly becoming a destination for technology companies, start-ups and others in cutting edge industries. Companies calling the area home focus on concepts like the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, travel, media and pharmaceuticals, and include notable brands such as Big Belly Solar, PTC, TripAdvisor, Karyopharm, Shark Ninja, Turbine, CyberArk, Verastem and a long list of others that are innovating their way to success. More information at www.n2corridor.com.

About the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber

The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to championing economic and cultural vitality through advocacy, education, and networking. The chamber is not affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or any other national organization. More information available at www.nnchamber.com.

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