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Operator sought for Roxbury Innovation Center


Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced last week that the City of Boston has released a Request for Proposal to operate the Roxbury Innovation Center that will be housed in the new Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Dudley Square. The RFP calls for an operator to provide a business incubator in the 3,350 square foot center, which would encourage collaboration, bold thinking, and new business development. The RFP also includes a request for community programming services in the building’s common areas. Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, has committed $150,000 to support the operation of the Center and programming in the building.

“The Roxbury Innovation Center will launch new businesses and drive economic development from inside the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building that will spread into the surrounding community,” Walsh said. “The business incubator will attract local and new talent to the area to boost long-term economic health and wealth creation in Dudley Square, Roxbury, and beyond.”

The RFP calls for the Roxbury Innovation Center to include such assets as: business incubator space; co-working space; mentoring and coaching resources and programs; formal and informal meeting space; shared resources to facilitate communication and idea generation; and common Wi-Fi, workstations, and other systems and facilities to support and accelerate small business creation and development.

The Roxbury Innovation Center will be located on the second floor of the Bolling Building, which is slated to open in the first quarter of 2015. The selected operator will have access to shared conference rooms, two kitchenette spaces, and after-hours building access. The initial lease will be for five years, with an option to renew for an additional five years.

The Community Programming Services RFP calls for an imaginative and ambitious individual or nonprofit entity to maximize the use of the multitude of community spaces inside the Bolling Building. The goal is to activate areas such as meeting rooms, the lobby, and the roof deck with programming that fosters the community’s innovation network, supports the local idea economy, and that will benefit and bring in the surrounding Roxbury community.

A Proposers’ Conference to answer any questions will be held Nov. 13, 2014 at 6 p.m. at 22 Warren St., Roxbury. Proposals are due Dec. 3, 2014.

Walsh announced plans for the Roxbury Innovation Center during his Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce speech in April 2014. In July 2014, a Request for Ideas to gauge interest in the innovation community for programming the location was released and 16 applications were received in response. The Statements of Interest and other information gathered from the RFI process have informed this Request for Proposals; however, there is no formal connection between participation in the RFI process and in this RFP.

The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, slated to open in the first quarter of 2015, incorporates the Ferdinand Furniture Building, the Curtis Block and the Waterman & Sons building, into a new state-of-the-art facility. The six-story building will house an estimated 500 municipal employees from Boston Public Schools and feature office space, as well as open space for student work, school events, and community gatherings. The building will also include 18,000 square feet of street-level space, and the 3,350 square foot Roxbury Innovation Center.

The City of Boston’s $115 million investment in the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building has spurred private investment across Dudley Square. The building is a collaboration between the City of Boston’s Property and Construction Management Department, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority working closely with the community and historic preservationists. The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building was designed by Mecanoo and Sasaki Associates. Shawmut Design and Construction served as the CM at-Risk contractor, with project management services being handled by PMA Consultants.

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