A new home for innovation in East Baltimore

City, state officials join Hopkins leaders for 1812 Ashland ribbon-cutting

The 1812 Ashland building in Baltimore's Eager Park neighborhood, near Johns Hopkins University's East Baltimore campus, marked its official opening with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Monday afternoon.

The six-story, $65.6 million laboratory and office building, located at 1812 Ashland Ave., broke ground less than two years ago. Over the next few months, it will become home to JHU's FastForward 1812 innovation hub as well as other Johns Hopkins offices and laboratories. It will also feature one of the nation's five prototype Starbucks Opportunity Caf├ęs, a professional training operation that will prepare hundreds of area residents for employment.

Image caption: Artist's rendering of the new 1812 Ashland building.

Leaders from Johns Hopkins University and Medicine—including JHU President Ronald J. Daniels; Paul B. Rothman, dean of the medical faculty and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine; and Ronald R. Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine—were joined at the event by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings; representatives of East Baltimore Development, Inc., and Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership; and city and state officials.

The FastForward program, designed by Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures to move academic findings through translational research into the commercial marketplace, was introduced to East Baltimore in early 2015 with FastForward East, a 6,000-square-foot space in the Rangos Building at 855 N. Wolfe St. Within months, all of FastForward East's offices and lab benches had been rented.

The new FastForward space on Ashland Avenue, FastForward 1812, is scheduled to open in early 2017. FastForward 1812 will nearly quadruple the space dedicated to growing startups in East Baltimore, adding 8,000 square feet of office and co-working space and 15,000 square feet of wet lab space.

"The building's 'celebrity' tenant, the innovation hub, allows Johns Hopkins to do what we do best: innovate," Peterson said. "Innovation leads to commercialization, which leads to job creation."

Added Daniels: "We are celebrating not just a building, but a future."