Missile Base to Start Up Space: Northeastern Incubates Resilience
Pointed toward the sky, poised to strike, the missiles of the US Nike defense system towered with silent stealth in the Boston borough of Burlington. Ever-alert they stood; precision encased in steel, protecting the health and wellbeing of New England from high-altitude, Cold War bombers.
Amidst thawing tension, the Nike missile base, “BO-84,” was retired, giving way to repurposing by the forward-thinking leadership and alumni of Northeastern University. Now, the goddess Nike lends her traits of strength, speed, and victory to the George J. Kostas Institute for Homeland Security and its mission to “advance the development of societal resilience in the face of 21st Century risks.”
Resilience, the ability to withstand and vibrantly recover from turmoil, has many practical meanings for the Kostas Research Institute (KRI). One manifestation of resilience involves forging partnerships with industry leaders in order to co-develop solutions to critical problems. The Rogers Innovation Center of Rogers Corporation, for example, collaborates with Northeastern researchers to discover “unique materials-based solutions to address global challenges for clean energy, safety and protection, and internet connectivity.”
Another manifestation is the STReSS Laboratory, a 2000 sq. ft. reinforced space for applying extreme stress to the materials used for “buildings, bridges and other structures.” In this space, failure is an option, or more adequately, a requirement.
The newest manifestation of resilience at the KRI is the Barracks Venture Creation Center (BVCC). Once the living and training quarters of vigilant US soldiers, the Barracks now serves as a brass tacks incubator for start ups.
Only 12 miles from downtown Boston, the Barracks Venture Creation Center offers a commanding alternative for strategically minded start ups. The utilitarian aesthetic with crisp paint, vintage fixtures, and minimal frills beckons the entrepreneurial spirit to be lean, quick, sleek, economical, diligent — features that would make any venture capitalist smile.
Early stage companies are leveraging the BVCC to maximize resources thereby enabling more efficient scaling and growth. With competitive, customized leasing options, companies like StreetScan are able to save on rent and invest in completing their mission. Kendall Square and Downtown incubators may be en vogue, but nothing beats the bottom-line pragmatism of the Barracks.
The BVCC currently has 11 office spaces ranging in size from 250-500 sq. ft. available. For those aiming to maximize austerity and explode profitability, there are 30 shared space opportunities. For start ups in need of wet labs and fume hoods, the Barracks also delivers — 8 benches ready for deployment.
When the goal is to generate and mobilize use-inspired solutions for the world’s most critical risks, “resilience” takes on many meanings. At the Kostas Research Institute, rebounding from disaster, preventing catastrophe, and incubating business all join forces to become a state-of-the-art defense system of resilience that is engineered to protect the populace.
So, if you are a start up redressing crumbling infrastructure, a company testing a disease-eradicating drug compound, or a team conducting advanced climate modeling, etc. and are affiliated with Northeastern in some manner (e.g., having faculty, student, staff, or alumni involvement), come investigate the Barracks Venture Creation Center and be fueled by the strength, speed, and victory of the Nike legacy in Burlington.
Written by Brice Tennant.