Enhancing Transportation Options and Creating More Technology-Based Spaces
StartUptown supports economic development and startups in the Oakland and Uptown neighborhoods by providing co-working space that gives new companies an initial location from which to expand their businesses and helping catalyze some of the region’s most recognizable technology startups—NoWait, Shoefitr, Rhiza, Allpoint Systems, and Powered Analytics, as well as numerous early-stage counterparts that are on similar trajectories. It also supports economic development in the Pittsburgh Innovation District along the Fifth and Forbes corridor in Uptown and Oakland, connecting these areas to Hazelwood Green.
Dovetailing with Metro21’s efforts to evaluate options for a connection from Oakland to Hazelwood Green, StartUptown, in partnership with Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, will use a $550,000 Foundation grant to explore a variety of transportation options—electric assisted bikes, scooters, and enhanced car-sharing, among others—to develop a multi-modal strategy that also connects Oakland to Hazelwood and leads to a broader mobility program tailored for Pittsburgh’s residents, workers, and visitors. Although the planning effort will, over time, have city-wide ramifications, it will begin by investigating how the innovation district associated with the universities in Oakland can connect to Hazelwood Green, activating the site and setting the stage for economic revitalization along the Monongahela River.
StartUptown also serves as the fiscal agent for InnovatePGH, a public-private partnership that seeks to accelerate Pittsburgh’s growth as a global destination for technology-based economic activity. With that goal in mind and with $500,000 in Foundation funding, StartUptown similarly will serve as the fiscal sponsor for research being undertaken by Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in partnership with Venture Café (VC) to secure as many as three new technology-based spaces in Pittsburgh.
Specifically CIC-VC, whose model is based on the idea that in the future, as much as 30 percent of real estate in major cities will be short-term leases rather than traditional leases of ten to 15 years, will determine the viability of the market for locating new spaces in the city, including at the Hazelwood Green site and in Oakland. The in-depth study will assess pricing, vacancy, and existing shared office spaces; identify potential locations; develop strategies to close economic gaps and determine the physical requirements for the most promising locations; and prepare financial models regarding the cost to launch and operate each location. In addition to sharing the study’s findings, CIC-VC will provide transparent data about costs to open similar accelerator sites in other cities.