On behalf of the business community in Newton and Needham, I’d like to welcome you the N2 Innovation Distract, home to growing number of technology, life sciences, start-ups and other innovation economy businesses.
The idea to market our region as destination for high tech innovators grew out of a conversation that took place earlier this year between Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki and Newton Mayor Setti Warren.
But the groundwork for developing this region has been underway for more than a decade.
- Newton and Needham is already home to more than 150 companies in the high tech, life sciences and green technology sectors.
- We’re part of the hottest office market in the state.
- Newton was recently grouped with a Cambridge and Framingham as the fourth best market in the nation for tech start-ups, by Entrepruuner.com. (The only other east cost location was the Washington D.C. area.)
- And in 2012 TripAdvisor – a company that could have chosen to locate in Kendall Square or anywhere else in the world for that matter — made a major statement when it announced plans to build its world headquarters in a recently rezoned Needham office park adjacent to I-95.
Contrast the inner suburban communities of Newton and Needham with what’s happening in Boston and Cambridge.
- Companies are being priced out of Kendall Square.
- Gridlock is snarling innovation in the Innovation District.
- And Boston’s downtown business crowd has failed to interact with their high tech neighbors.
Executives choose to locate their businesses in Newton and Needham because of our proximity to everything Boston has to offer but also because we offer excellent public schools, open space, fantastic shopping, first class restaurants and upscale hotels.
Executives also recognize that we have higher education institutions in our region that are every bit as dedicated and capable of turning out the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs as institutions in Boston and Cambridge.
And they appreciate that the Newton-Needham area is poised to make significant infrastructure enhancements too.
- There’s the add-a-lane project that will widen I-95 and reconfigure our bridges and exit ramps.
- There’s the planned new exit ramp off I-95 on Kendrick Street that would lead directly into two major office parks.
- There’s planned improvements to the Needham Street/ Highland Avenue corridor – including road widening, bridge improvements, curb cut realignments and new signals.
Most importantly, we have two municipalities that are eager to put out the welcome mat to new and expanding companies – and committed to meaningful regulatory changes.
- That includes recognizing the need for alternative workspaces; transportation alternatives such as Hubway, Zipcars or similar options; and more cool places for innovators and entrepreneurs to hang out, bump into each other and make deals.
- In Needham, that also includes the designation of the New England Business Center as an economic target area with zoning changes that allows for housing, restaurants and food trucks.
- In Newton, that includes updating its master plan to promote economic development and the efforts of the city’s Economic Development Commission.
There’s a great entrepreneurial spirit in Newton and Needham. There’s a commitment among business and civic leaders to open our doors to new businesses and opportunities. Newton and Needham offer proximity to the city but with amenities and opportunities to expand.
The N2 Innovation District is really about nurturing a trend that’s already underway. We hope you will join us as we embark on this exciting opportunity.
Newton-Needham Regional Chamber