Cambridge Innovation Center Strikes Deal for St. Louis Expansion

5/16/13Follow @curtwoodward

The Boston area’s best-known startup hub is taking another big step in its national expansion plans.

The Cambridge Innovation Center, an all-in-one office space and services provider that houses some 500 companies near the MIT campus, is opening a branch in St. Louis.

CIC officials announced the expansion Thursday along with Wexford Science & Technology, a real estate development company. Wexford is renovating the building that will house the new CIC branch—the St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes the property as “a former telephone factory undergoing a $73 million conversion into labs and research space.”

The CIC operates as a kind of landlord on steroids for startups and growing companies, offering month-to-month rent for its flexible office spaces that range from “co-working” bullpens to full-fledged corner offices.

Rent prices can be higher than some other addresses, but all of the common office services are included—IT, phones, printers, snacks, and even networking events. The lack of long-term commitments also means that fledgling companies can grow or shrink their rent and footprint as their company changes.

Rowe

The CIC is headed by Tim Rowe, a longtime presence in the Boston-area startup scene who also serves as a venture partner at venture capital firm New Atlantic Ventures, among other appointments.

No financial terms were disclosed for the St. Louis deal, which is the first expansion for the CIC outside of the Boston area. The CIC has previously discussed its plans to grow in other parts of the country, including in Baltimore, as I reported in February. The company also previously told The Boston Globe that St. Louis was among its targets for expansion.

A news release from the two companies says the CIC branch will occupy most of one floor of the building, enough room for up to 100 tenants. And it sounds like they will mostly be biotech companies—the building is part of a project called Cortex, which has raised millions of dollars from private, university, and government sources to establish a life sciences research and startup campus in the city.

“We were struck by the breadth and energy of the startup community in St. Louis,” said Ranch Kimball, president and CEO of CIC Partners and a former economic development official under Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The CIC offered no hints about its plans to move into Baltimore, but the partnership with Wexford could help there, too—the private real estate company is based in Baltimore. Earlier this year, Wexford merged with San Diego-based BioMed Realty Trust.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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