UMass President Marty Meehan shares a thought with UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney during a dedication ceremony at Harbor Place December 2016. (WHAV News photograph.)
UMass Lowell Innovation Hub’s is getting, what some say, is a much-needed boost with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce moving into the White’s Corner space as early as Monday.
The Chamber is vacating its second-floor space at 80 Merrimack St. with eye on subletting it to meet the terms of its current rental agreement. That’s according to Chamber President and CEO Dougan Sherwood, who told WHAV “The iHub, when it is full, can be an incredible asset to the Haverhill community.”
“I have been interested in this since joining the Chamber. I really think the iHub has an opportunity to become a cornerstone of the business community and the community at large,” Sherwood said in an interview Saturday morning.
The Haverhill Chamber is occupying two offices on the third floor of Harbor Place. The space, which Sherwood estimated to be 350- to 400-square feet, is considerably smaller than the Chamber’s offices in the Landmark building. Sherwood, however, said the organization will benefit from shared Wi-Fi and common areas such as a kitchen and Woolworth conference room. “Because of shared resources, we don’t need to rent that stuff,” he explained.
Sherwood said the Chamber would become a full member of the iHub, but declined to say how much the rent would cost. UMass’ iHub website reports “dedicated” offices range in price from $800-$1,000, monthly. It recently advertised a 25 percent discount for six months.
UMass’ Senior Director of Innovation Initiatives Tom O’Donnell welcomed the Chamber in a statement released Saturday morning.
“Our core missions of innovation, entrepreneurship, education and economic development align nicely,” he said, adding, “We see a significant amount of upside working together to advance these missions and look forward to collaborating closely with Dougan and his team.”
The iHub opened last December with the announcement 180 South Solar would move into a portion of the 11,000 square-foot coworking space at 2 Merrimack St. A year earlier, UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney was joined by then-Rep. Brian S. Dempsey, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and others in announcing plans for the business incubator.
Sherwood told WHAV he is not concerned about the length of time it is taking to recruit new businesses to the space. “These spaces take time. That was my experience at Cambridge Innovation Center. It’s long-term organic growth as opposed to something that is a flash in the pan.”
Sherwood was a co-founder of Cambridge Innovation Center. He was hired last May as the Chamber’s new chief in a renewed collaboration with the Greater Haverhill Foundation, one of the developers of Harbor Place.
The Chamber moved into its existing space “temporarily” more than a decade ago as renovations took place at its longtime 87 Winter St. home. Cost overruns updating that building, where John Greenleaf Whittier went to school, caused the Chamber to abandon its plans.