Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller made the following announcement on Nov. 1, 2019.
I have made the difficult decision to phase-out in four months the Newton Innovation Center co-working space located in a City of Newton building in Newton Corner.
The Newton Innovation Center (NIC) opened in 2016. Mayor Setti Warren partnered with MassChallenge and the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) to offer below-market rate co-working space and affiliated conference rooms at the former Newton Corner library at 124 Vernon Street.
The goal was to support individual entrepreneurs and startups and strengthen the innovation ecosystem in Newton. MassChallenge, however, pulled out in 2017. The Newton Innovation Center continued with a partnership between the City of Newton, the Newton Needham Regional Chamber and the Cambridge Innovation Center. I am grateful for our wonderful partnership with MassChallenge, the Chamber and the CIC and I know the below-market rates and the culture at the NIC supported many entrepreneurs.
Several factors contributed to my decision to close the Newton Innovation Center. In the past few years, the co-working industry has expanded enormously so alternatives are now more plentiful, including in Brighton and Needham. Very few entrepreneurs graduated from the NIC to a next office here in Newton.
While useful to the entrepreneurs located there, the NIC never became the hub of entrepreneurial activity that nourished Newton's innovation economy; rather, many successful efforts at growing Newton's economy happened separate from the NIC. A recent study of the NIC commissioned by the Chamber concluded the current building size and location are not well-suited or situated for growth or success.
The City, the Chamber and the CIC are committed to helping the individuals and businesses currently located at the Newton Innovation Center find other opportunities before the NIC closes on March 1, 2020. Devra Bailin, Newton’s Economic Development Director, will work directly with the current members of the NIC to find alternative co-working options.
The City, the Chamber and the CIC are also committed to working together to bring co-working options to Newton.
We are in the process of determining how the building will be utilized moving forward, including evaluating the space for use by a City department. We will work closely with the City Council to determine its future if it is not used by a City department.