With an east side neighborhood project called StartingBlock looking to house the city’s technology startup companies, Madison could build its own slice of the Silicon Valley,
Entrepreneurs in the city pitched StartingBlock Madison as a space intended to foster the development of technology startups from an idea into full-fledged companies, Ald. Scott Resnick, District 8, said. The proposed project would fill the empty warehouse at 925 E. Washington Ave., Resnick said.
The space would provide help for startups looking to grow their businesses but also provide space new ideas, Resnick said. He said he believes this plan will provide space for experimentation.
“[StartingBlock] will not only attract those financial mechanisms but also for people who have a new idea,” Resnick said. ”This will be a welcoming environment for them to try something out.”
Resnick, who is also the vice president Madison-based technology company Hardin Design and Development, said the city is taking a concept that has been used and proven successful in larger cities, such as San Antonio and Boston, and amplifying it here in Madison. As a result of StartingBlock, Resnick said he hopes to establish the city as a technology hub for the Midwest.
Sector 67 and Gener8tor are two businesses that would occupy part of the proposed space. Sector 67 is a “community workspace” designed for people to work and collaborate on technology projects, according to its website. Gener8tor is an accelerator company that invests in startups, as well as works with entrepreneurs and later mentors them into successful businesses, according to its website.
As part of StartingBlock, Sector 67 and Gener8tor will provide a space for their members to work with and learn about new technologies, Resnick said.
If the project moves forward as planned, there will be some major structural changes for buildings on the near east side, Resnick said. One of the property owners involved in the project believes that it is necessary to knock down a few buildings in the neighborhood, he said.
Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, said in an email to The Badger Herald she is excited about the project. However, she said she has not gauged whether the plan has widespread support among other council members.
The project is in its early stages and the company who will be responsible for the project is still up in the air, Resnick said. Planners are currently debating between Urban Land Interests or Archipelago Village, but an exact decision is expected to be made within the next 30 to 45 days, he said.
If Archipelago Village is responsible for the construction on this project they will also demolish a one-story building and replace it with a five-story structure instead, Resnick said. However, the Kleuter building, which was most recently home for Mautz Paint Co., will remain intact and house Sector 67 and Gener8tor, he said.
Sector 67 wants to include all Madison citizens in the planning process, Resnick said. Community-based meetings will be held in order to discuss the best way in which community space will be used, he said.