In just three months, demand for lab and office space at the Johns Hopkins innovation hub FastForward East has exceeded supply. The FastForward program, designed to move academic findings through translational research into the commercial marketplace, was introduced to East Baltimore earlier this year in an interim facility in the Rangos Building at 855 N. Wolfe St. In that time, all of its offices and lab benches have been rented.
Currently, preparations are being made to expand FastForward East from 6,000 square feet to 25,000 square feet of office and lab space. This facility will be a part of a new seven-level, $65.6 million laboratory and office building development, 1812 Ashland.
"I am thrilled by the growth of FastForward, but we need to do more to meet the demand in the market for affordable space so that startups will start and stay here in Baltimore." says Christy Wyskiel, senior adviser to the president of Johns Hopkins University. "Now more than ever it is clear that we need to create economic opportunity and build out the resources to support this."
FastForward has an additional location in Baltimore in the Stieff Silver building near the university's Homewood campus, in addition to virtual assistance provided for those ventures that are not ready to move into their own space. The new FastForward East location will offer open, communal spaces that encourage spontaneous collaboration and impromptu cross-pollination of ideas. It will accommodate both early- and late-stage companies, with an aim to drive more economic development in Baltimore.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the 1812 Ashland building will take place today beginning at 10 a.m. Remarks will be given by Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University; Ronald R. Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine; Paul B. Rothman, dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine; and others.
In addition to FastForward, Johns Hopkins will occupy an additional 85,000 square feet in the new building, which will consolidate additional departments from both the university and School of Medicine.
The new 165,000-square-foot building near the intersection of Ashland and Rutland avenues is scheduled for completion by August 2016.