Renovating A Former Auto Body Shop

Greentown Labs is renovating a former auto body shop in Somerville. Here’s a tour.


The growth of Greentown Labs has taken the clean-tech incubator all over Greater Boston in search of space since it was founded in 2011 by four companies that just needed a place to build prototypes.

Those companies landed in a Cambridge warehouse, but were quickly displaced by a biotech firm. The next stop was the burgeoning Innovation District in Seaport, in the basement of a building now occupied by LogMeIn. Then in September 2013, Greentown moved to 33,000 square feet of combined office and lab space at 28 Dane St. in Somerville, where it’s been ever since.

Now the incubator is nearly tripling its presence in Somerville with a new 55,000-square-foot headquarters just steps from its current location. The Business Journal got to tag along on a tour of the under-construction headquarters given Thursday to executives at Saint-Gobain, a French building materials conglomerate that is donating a number of materials to for the project. Click through the gallery to see highlights of the space and renderings of what it will look like in the future.

The $12 million construction project kicked off this fall and is about 25 percent complete, with a completion date estimated for September or October. Once completed, the space will be big enough for about 450 people, according to Peter Scanlon, an employee of Greentown Labs who is leading the construction project.

Formerly an auto body shop, the giant space will be divided into office space, event space, prototyping space and wet lab space.

“There’s nothing like Greentown Labs that we’ve seen anywhere else in the world,” said Mias Apelian, the vice president of research and development at Saint-Gobain.

With a current membership of more than 50 companies and enough space for about 150 people, Greentown Labs already claims the title of largest clean-tech incubator in the U.S. The organization receives funding from Mass Development and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center in addition to the revenue it collects from renting work space to its member companies.

Article Source: