Downtown innovation hub at Amegy on Main includes start-up accelerators and incubators MassChallenge, gener8tor and Impact Hub Houston
HOUSTON — Central Houston, Inc. (CHI) and the Downtown Redevelopment Authority (DRA) announce 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). 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, coworking 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,” said Bob Eury, president of Central Houston and Downtown Redevelopment Authority. “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.”
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,” said Curtis Flowers, Downtown Redevelopment Authority board chair. “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.”
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 coworking space on the 13th floor post-program.
Amenities at 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.