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The Boston Globe, by John Hilliard

New home sought for Newton Innovation Center

November 13, 2018

State development officials issued grants to two Newton-area organizations as part of an effort to help support local innovation and entrepreneurship across Massachusetts, according to state officials.

The Newton-Needham Regional Chamber was issued $25,000 to help the organization find a new home for the Newton Innovation Center, the chamber said in a statement.

The Newton center is a partnership between the chamber, the city, and the Cambridge Innovation Center. It provides co-working and offices for companies and serves nearly 70 entrepreneurs daily, according to the chamber.

The center’s current location at the former Newton Corner Library building “is pushed to its limits,” Greg Reibman, the chamber’s president, said in the statement.

“We are actively working with the CIC and the city to identify a new home and this grant will help us find the right new location, support build out costs and establish an operating model,” Reibman said.

Another grant for nearly $90,000 was issued to Empow Studios for construction of a control room, storage, and equipment, according to a separate statement from the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

The grant is for a collaborative space for adults and teens “focused on learning and innovation in the fields of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies and related fields of 3D design and modeling, robotics, wearable technology, sensors, IOT (Internet of Things) and human-machine interfaces,” Leonid Tunik, the founder of Empow Studios, said in an e-mail.

The two Newton grants — issued through the Collaborative Workspace Program — were included with $2.2 million in funding to 28 organizations in 21 cities and towns announced late last month, according to state officials.

The MassDevelopment-managed funding effort is meant to help build infrastructure to “support new entrepreneurial ventures while spurring innovation and job creation at the local level,” the statement said.