Container Park Demonstrates Innovative Retail Possibilities

Hi DifferenceMakers – Several Faculty Fellows just returned from the Pathways to Innovation Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  While our hosts from Venture Well made sure to keep us busy in Strategic Doing sessions, we did have a chance to visit an innovative retail center built from used trucking containers – yes, those ugly steel boxes stacked up in seaports and shipped cross-country by truck. But Container Park, located in the downtown Fremont district, really brings new life to the containers and to the district.

Entrance to Container Park

Entrance to Container Park in Las Vegas, Fremont District.

Container Park hosts a number of retail shops, restaurants and cafes, as well as a very fun climbing structure/tower to keep children and parents quite busy.

Container Park Shops

List of shops on the second and third floors of Container Park.

The containers are stacked up to three high and there is an elevator (built in containers of course) and stairways.

Container Park Elevator

Three stories of container retail are serviced by an elevator (hidden in a clock tower) and stairs.

In the center of Container Park is a wheelchair accessible, climbing structure for children and parents.

Climbing structure for kids and parents.

Climbing structure for kids and parents.

The park is part of the revitalization of the downtown Vegas area, an area that has weathered some challenges as the massive development of the Vegas Strip has drawn tourists and resources ways from the downtown area. When we visited Container Park in the middle of a Saturday, it was quite busy, with tourists and locals shopping and enjoying the day.

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Learning from Others!


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Hi DifferenceMakers – I had the chance to visit the Raleigh Durham, N. Carolina area recently.  15 years ago Durham was a somewhat rundown, ailing ex-tobacco community.  Over the past few years they have revitalized their downtown spaces, using  a … Continue reading

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UMass Lowell Innovation Hub nears Completion!

The UMass Lowell Innovation Hub at 110 Canal St. in Lowell will open on June 1.  The 11,000 sq. ft. tech incubator/accelerator will connect tech entrepreneurs with the knowledge and physical resources of the University community.

The IHub includes a reception area, co-working space, private office space, conference room facilities and a prototype lab. IHub Director Tom O’Donnell, a visiting faculty in the University’s Entrepreneurship program is connecting with entrepreneurs from the region to ensure the facility meets the needs of the growing tech sector of Massachusetts.

While the furniture is on the way, the following photos (taken on May 7) will provide a good sense of how the space is laid out.

We would like to thank the Massachusetts Life Science Center, Mass Development and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development for their support of this project.

IHub Reception

Entrepreneurs will be greeted in reception area, which includes private “phone booths” for connecting with clients and partners.

IHub Cafe and Lounge

The IHub Cafe is located to the left of the reception area. Once the furniture is in it will serve as a meeting space and lunch area.

IHub Co-Working

A large, open Co-Working space (with incredible views of the canal system and downtown) will accommodate 35 entrepreneurs. Wireless access, printing, copying, desktop electric and a conference room reservation system provides all of the office resources needed by an early-stage startup.

IHub Board Room

The IHub Board Room will seat 25-30 guests and includes large screen monitors, electronic white board and phone conferencing system. The glass walls open to accommodate pitch contests are other events.

IHub Offices

The IHub offers 12 private office spaces that can accommodate 2-3 entrepreneurs.

IHub Prototype Lab

The IHub Prototype Lab will provide 3D printing, materials cutting and related light modeling equipment.

Prototype Lab Interior

The Prototype Lab includes benchspace, light tools, 3D printing, and electronic assembly areas.

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MakerSpace Under Construction in Falmouth Hall!

Remember when there was a bookstore in the basement of Falmouth Hall? Well that is long gone, and there is a brand new MakerSpace under construction for College of Engineering students.

I have been reviewing campus-wide data on student participation in experiential activities like Research Coop, Community Coop, Enterprise Coop. These are different from the Career Services Coop, and provided opportunities for hands on work with students in local organizations or ventures under the guidance of a professor.  We have very low participation compared to other colleges:  2014-2015 AY3 MSB, 13 Health Science, 12 FAHSS, 42 Engineering 2013-2014 AY1 MSB, 11 Health Science, 10 FAHSS,   8  Engineering  (My suggestions below rOne area where the MSB has limited univers

Looking towards Pasteur, from Loading Dock Entrance.

This new space will include a prototype design and printing center (including 3D printers and laser cutters), electronics workstations and other milling and machining equipment.

 Prototype Development Space

Looking into the Prototype Development Space.

Dean Hartman, a champion for the construction of the MakerSpace, envisions a creative builder space where COE students can design, create and build 24 hours per day. He anticipates the placement of capstone courses in the space during the day and student builders creating at night.

Maker Space

Looking out toward the back wall – lots of space here!

Look for a soft opening late spring semester!

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Innovation Hub Under Construction!

Hey DifferenceMakers!

Did you know that UMass Lowell is building out 22,000 sq ft. of Innovation & Entrepreneurship space in Lowell – at 110 Canal St?  One floor will house an expanded M2D2 medical device incubator while the other floor will support other types of technology startup companies.  The facility is scheduled to open by June 2015, but here are some photos to keep you updated.  Perhaps the 2015 Idea Challenge winners will have space in a brand new IHub!


“Phone Booths” for startups at the IHub Tech Incubator.


Loooking into the IHub Board Room – they haven’t yet installed the moveable, glass walls.


Flex offices on the Canal St. side.


Looking from the entrance toward the Admin & Prototype Lab.

Entrance to IHub

Welcome to the entrance of the Innovation Hub at 110 Canal Street, Lowell.


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