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April 1, 2021

CI’s New Haven digs aim for vibrant urban setting


When Connecticut Innovations decided to move its offices to New Haven, it sought out the kind of edgy, creative spot that would make a statement about the types of startups Connecticut wants to attract and help build.

“We decided if we were going to go into New Haven, let’s go into a place that people of any age in a vibrant urban setting would look to,” said CI Board Chairman Michael Cantor. “And the District is certainly that.”

CI has built out a nearly 10,000-square-foot home inside the high tech campus-style office park and coworking space at 470 James St., which entrepreneur David Salinas and other Elm City visionaries opened on the site of a derelict bus garage in 2018.

With its exposed brick and metal truss work, stylish furniture and amenities that include an on-site beer garden, bocce court and fitness club, the new headquarters exudes the kind of young entrepreneurial vibe that CI was lacking in its old location, CI CEO Matt McCooe said.

The space, which was designed pre-COVID-19 by Hartford-based Amenta Emma Architects and Ubane New Haven, includes small offices as well as open work spaces and meeting pods. A large monitor at the main entrance will be used to showcase CI’s portfolio companies and investor partners.

A centerpiece of the new location is a cafe and large conference room, which are separated by a sliding glass wall that can be opened to accommodate bigger meetings or events. CI will allow local entrepreneurs to book the conference rooms at no cost.

“We’re hoping it becomes a congregational spot for the entrepreneurial community,” said McCooe.“The vision is that there’s a constant hustle and bustle of people coming and going, and people sort of view it as their remote office. There are all kinds of accidental introductions that can happen there that we hope to facilitate.”

CI spent $1 million, or roughly $100 a square foot, on the build out, but is realizing savings by reducing its footprint compared to the old location, where it occupied 30,000 square feet, CFO Philip Siuta said.

Although CI completed construction on the building last year, the formal opening has been delayed because of the pandemic. McCooe hopes to celebrate a grand opening by September.

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