In the News...Hopkins' incubator move to R. House part of neighborhood revitalization role

Published Mar 23, 2017
Mar 23, 2017

Baltimore Business Journal

By: Morgan Eichensehr

Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels wants the school to have a role in the revitalization of Baltimore neighborhoods the organization calls home.

In that vein, a Hopkins FastForward incubator and accelerator space is set to open in Remington this summer, atop the newly opened R. House food and drink hall. The location will be FastForward’s second new space to open this year. The other now sits in East Baltimore in the 1812 Ashland building, part of the research and technology park near the Hopkins medical campus.

“FastForward and Hopkins believe there’s great opportunity for economic development coming from the organic growth of startups that originate here in the city,” said Elizabeth Smyth, a senior director with Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures. “We hope this kind of job creation will benefit all of Baltimore, but especially those neighborhoods where we’re building.”

Daniels was especially excited about the vibrancy of the nearby Remington neighborhood, Smyth said, and the opportunity for Hopkins to be part of it.

The new space will replace the current FastForward Homewood space at the converted Steiff Silver building at 810 Wyman Park Drive. It was the first innovation hub from Tech Ventures, developed to support student and faculty startups coming out of the university with affordable office and lab space.
The R. House move puts FastForward closer to Hopkins' Homewood campus and puts resident companies in an environment with other entrepreneurs and tech firms. R. House was designed to support local chefs testing new food and restaurant concepts. FastForward will take 9,000 square feet
of the second floor, which will also be home to a yoga studio and education technology company Allovue.

Construction is scheduled for completion in early July. Companies are expected to begin occupying space in late summer, said Mark VanderZyl, operations manager for FastForward. The space will include six desks, 11 offices, as well as six labs and shared workspace for growing, young companies to rent.
Pricing will start at about $275 for a desk and $900 for a lab workbench.

The most important part of the new space is that it will be purpose-built and designed for startups, VanderZyl said. Design Collective is overseeing the project.

Steiff Silver was a good place to start and provided needed lab space, Smyth said, but having a space that is a flexible, shared work environment is more conducive to FastForward’s needs than having to adapt an already-existing space.

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