Momentum Grows Around Eager Park With 1812 Ashland Ribbon Cutting

pgphoto_1812ashland-411-allpgphoto_1812ashland-532-whole-building-1The 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.  Known as 1812 Ashland Avenue, the building will be occupied with a 30,000-square-foot expansion of Johns Hopkins University’s FastForward business incubator and 40,000-square-feet of medical research laboratory space including JH Genomics, the gene sequencing lab. On the ground floor, one of six new “Starbucks Opportunity Cafes” in the U.S. will soon open as part of a new concept by the java giant to teach job and workforce skills to inner city youth.

pgphoto_1812ashland-140-starbucks-2During a dedication ceremony, the focus of new jobs, job training and life sciences was highlighted.  “We’re delivering on the promises in East Baltimore,” said Scott Levitan, a senior vice president at Forest City New East Baltimore Partnership, the master developer for the $1.8 billion EBDI project that stretches across 88 acres just north of Johns Hopkins Hospital. “In just six months, you’ll see a dramatic change.” he noted.   A new Marriott Residence Inn is under construction next door to the hospital. It is expected to open in a year and will be tied to Hopkins’ patients. A new public park, Eager Park, is also being built with state, city and private funds to encompass a portion of three blocks   About 50 new townhomes are under construction at EBDI, most of them purchased for about $280,000 each in a pre-construction sale by Hopkins employees at a recent auction using a $36,000 employer incentive.

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.  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.  Innovation leads to commercialization, which leads to job creation.” said Ronald R. Peterson, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Added JHU President Ronald J. Daniels: “We are celebrating not just a building, but a future.”

The opening of the next office building at the Science Park is a sign of growing momentum in a larger redevelopment that has been in the works for more than 15 years. EBDI has resulted in over $200 million worth of construction contracts awarded for projects that also include a Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene building, housing for students and others, the Henderson-Hopkins School, a parking garage and offices, noted Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

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