HOUSTON (CW39) Downtown Houston is constantly evolving. Today is certainly no different! Thursday morning, Central Houston, Inc. (CHI) and the Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA) announced the official opening of Downtown Launchpad, a 17,000-square-foot innovation hub located on the 10th floor of Amegy on Main (1801 Main Street). As Austin continues to outgrow itself, the top tier of tech professionals are migrating to Houston to start up the best of innovation along the Gulf Coast.
Resident partners are nationally recognized startup accelerators MassChallenge and gener8tor, along with global nonprofit incubator Impact Hub Houston. Operation partner, The Cannon, will be the space’s community manager. In addition to space for accelerator and incubator program employees and participants, Downtown Launchpad will also be a place for idea incubation, entrepreneur boot camps, community events, workforce development, innovation labs, creatives, co-working and corporate innovation. This environment enables entrepreneurs to move seamlessly through the stages of startup production, all in one space.
Downtown Launchpad innovation hub starts at the edges of technology and entrepreneurship where cutting-edge ideas can quickly be cultivated and explored. We set out to recruit and develop partnerships with some of the nation’s premier accelerators and incubators in order to build an inclusive vertical village with all the critical support functions just steps away. We are excited and look forward to the impact created by the hundreds of startups that will walk through our doors.
Bob Eury, president of Central Houston and Downtown Redevelopment Authority
Following the DRA’s approval of economic development grants to MassChallenge and gener8tor in 2019, the DRA issued a request for proposals to find a property within the boundaries of the Tax Increment Zone #3 (TIRZ #3) for the co-location of the startup accelerators and other future tenants. CHI and the DRA selected Amegy on Main, which had already begun creating a robust innovation ecosystem with the build-out of The Cannon Tower, a coworking venture operated by The Cannon on the 13th floor of that building. The Cannon Tower opened in December 2019, the same month that construction on Downtown Launchpad began. Impact Hub Houston signed on as Downtown Launchpad’s third resident partner in July 2020.
In the 2017 Plan Downtown, a key business strategy focuses on facilitating the creation of a collaborative Innovation District within Downtown.” “The purpose is to incubate a vibrant, innovative economy where startups thrive, create jobs, and attract venture capital investments to Houston which will benefit the City’s long-term economic vitality. We believe the investment in establishing Downtown Launchpad will garner long-term results for Downtown and the Houston region.
Curtis Flowers, Downtown Redevelopment Authority board chair
Together, The Cannon and Downtown Launchpad create an integrated vertical village of innovation with an entrepreneurial energy unlike any other office environment in the city, with a range of support programs, services and other resources on-site. Startups and entrepreneurs who participate in resident partners’ programs at Downtown Launchpad will be able to scale, expand and mature in the building, graduating into co-working space on the 13th floor post-program.
Amegy on Main include a communal ground-floor lobby area with meeting rooms, a game room, workstations and a coffee bar and deli. This shared meet-up space, a gathering spot for all building tenants, facilitates “collisions” among individuals who might not otherwise have been physically connected. Residents also have access to a dedicated event space on the 11th floor.
In addition to the on-site amenities and access, Downtown Launchpad is located in the emerging neighborhood of Southern Downtown, which has seen an increase of more than 1,700 new residential units since 2012 as a result of the Downtown Living Initiative, a tax incentive program created by the City of Houston, DRA and the Downtown District to encourage new multifamily residential and mixed-use developments in the area. Situated along the METRORail, the area forms the northern node of a larger innovation corridor along Main Street.
About Central Houston, Inc.
Central Houston, Inc. is the steward of Houston’s vision for the redevelopment and revitalization of Downtown. Central Houston has contributed to the momentum of this exciting revitalization by enhancing collaboration among public officials, developers and businesses and has facilitated many of the public and private projects that have transformed downtown over the past 30 years. Today, Central Houston’s leadership and oversight continue to play a critical role downtown. Priorities focus on the image of the city, quality of life, strengthening Houston’s economic base and continued collaboration with the City, County, METRO and downtown property owners to improve our central city. For more information, visit centralhouston.org.
About Downtown Redevelopment Authority The Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA) facilitates positive development of the area within the Tax Increment Zone #3 (TIRZ #3) boundaries. Tax increment dollars collected within the boundaries of the Zone are reinvested back into the Zone through the Board of Directors. It accomplishes this by providing financial incentives through public/private sector partnerships designed to make Downtown Houston a place where Houstonians and visitors want to live, work and play. For more information, visit downtowntirz.com.
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