City, News

Innovation District brings 4,000 jobs to Boston

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced Friday more than 200 companies and 4,000 jobs moved to the Innovation District, enriching the city’s economy in the three years since the district was established.

“Dynamic companies want to be part of Boston’s innovation community, and part of our larger community,” Menino said in a press release Friday. “They want to make contributions to the community through their expertise time, and resources. I have never in 20 years been more optimistic about Boston’s future. We are setting trends, not following them.”

The Innovation District was launched in January 2010 and is Menino’s plan to transform 1,000 acres of the South Boston waterfront into an urban environment to promote innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship, according to the release.

“The Mayor’s vision for this area was the right one,” said Nicole Fichera, district manager of the Innovation District. “It was an area with a lot of development potential, and we expect to see more growth in this area.”

Technology companies contributed 30 percent to job growth and Greentech and life sciences brought 16 percent of jobs to the Innovation District, according to the release.

Fichera said about 200 more companies are expected to move in and bring about 2,500 jobs to the district in the future.

“It’s a really tangible symbol of Boston’s leadership in the innovation economy,” she said. “Boston and Massachusetts are both leaders. The Innovation District is an urban laboratory where we contest ideas.”

Some companies already involved with the Innovation District said the district has made a positive impact on business.

“I love the Innovation District. It’s been going up around us, and it’s great to see the energy down here,” said Brendan Kearney, account manager from RaceMenu, a website that facilitates organizing and promoting events.

Kearney said being located in the district has allowed his company to flourish.

“Being in the in district itself, we’ve made connections with a number of different companies and partners that we may have never engaged with if we were not all in the same ecosystem,” he said. “It’s definitely allowed us to branch out and make connections and develop new business partnerships that we wouldn’t have had before.”

Marty Walsh, owner of Greenhouse Bikes, said the Innovation District has supported his company since its creation.

“[The company is] doing great,” Walsh said. “From day one we got a large support from the city. We got a loan in 2008 and it’s been really great working with these folks. We wouldn’t be where are without that support.”

Walsh said the expansion of companies in the Innovation District is beneficial for Boston.

“[The expansion is] trying to do something in an area of Boston that wasn’t happening before,” he said. “It is focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation inside a big part of the city, and the fact that the city government wants to do that is a great idea.”

David Patrick, CEO of Apperian, which does mobile application management, said in an email the Innovation District will be an exciting new place to start high-tech companies and has allowed his company to recruit to many of the surrounding areas in Boston.

“Apperian is doing very well in Boston,” he said. “We have been very successful in establishing here, raising money, hiring, building sales and marketing. We have been able to execute very quickly in the Boston environment.”

Zach Barber, spokesman for Vertex Pharmaceuticals, said the company is planning to move to the Innovation District in the next few months.

“Our company was founded in Cambridge and we started out with one lab with a handful of scientists,” he said. “We now have twelve different locations around Cambridge. The primary drive for the relocation was to get all of our employees into one campus.”

Fichera said the Innovation District will be an important force in the Boston economy.

“We will continue growing jobs and companies in this area. The company is doing world- changing work,” she said. “It will continue pushing Boston’s economy forward.”

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