March 10, 2019 Likes Comments

Chamber launches fundraising initiative to grow N-Squared Innovation District

The second round of funding aims to grow the district beyond its initial origins

The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber has begun fundraising for phase two of the N-Squared Innovation District initiative. The previous fundraiser reached its goal of $345,000, exceeding its goal of $325,000. With this project the Chamber aims to equal its last fundraising effort of $345,000.

The new funding will enable the Chamber to take the N-Squared Innovation District to the next level with programs aimed at business attraction, content and storytelling, placemaking, and advocacy.

“The growth over the past two years has just been amazing. Old, outdated facilities are now updated with retail and amenities, and filled with a modern workforce. Housing now stands where we saw open parking lots and the Upper Falls Greenway hums with activity. People can now shop for food on their way home from work, or grab a drink at a cool bar. None of this existed just a couple of years ago,” said N-Squared Innovation District Director Chuck Tanowitz.

Dramatic local changes in just two years

Since the project began in 2016 the area has changed drastically. This includes the opening of new access to I-95, the opening of the Homewood Suites with a fourth hotel underway, and food trucks taking up residence in both major office parks. On Needham Street major changes have taken hold, including the opening of Newton Nexus, featuring a new Stop & Shop concept, as well as the additions of new restaurants, bars and cafes.

“The N-Squared Innovation District is the chamber’s top economic development initiative and we’ve been gratified by the financial support this public-private partnership has received from area employers, property owners, nonprofits and our two municipal partners,” said Newton-Needham Regional Chamber President Greg Reibman.

“Together we’ve begun to create an environment where talent, innovation, and community converge to support a vibrant, entrepreneurial economy.

We’re now looking to take these efforts to the next level and need additional resources to make the vision a reality.”

Growth in both employers and amenities

The initial fundraising efforts grew out of a federally-funded report completed by Camoin and Associates that outlined key goals for growing innovation in the area, including growing an organization, attracting businesses, advocating for area development and launching new initiatives.

New employers have moved into the area or expanded since launching the N-Squared Initiative, including CoachUp, Empow, Boston Ballet, Examity, and Stop & Shop. Other businesses chose to grow and expand here, including SharkNinja, NBCUniversal, CyberArk and Karyopharm. In Needham, the district has also seen the addition of nearly 400 apartments and two new hotels.

In Newton, a mixed-use development proposed on Needham Street promises upwards of 800 additional housing units plus office and retail space, as well as an integrated bus program, while Needham Street and Highland Ave. are set to be rebuilt to include better protected bike lanes, and enhanced walkability.

To discuss contributing to the N-Squared Economic Development initiative contact Greg Reibman at 617-244-1688 or greibman@nnchamber.com.

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