If you last visited Kendall Square 10 years ago and returned to the Cambridge neighborhood today, you’d think Jack had sprinkled around a bushel of magic beans. New buildings have sprouted, bars and restaurants have opened, and an East Coast Google campus has been completed. You can even ice skate in the winter or rent a kayak in the summer.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is Glenn KnicKrehm’s empty gravel lot in the heart of the square. The precious acre of property is still surrounded by chain-link fence, and KnicKrehm is still spinning his vision of building a $300 million arts and culture complex called the Constellation Center. Read more in my latest Innovation Economy column in The Boston Globe.
InnerCity Weightlifting to open outpost in Kendall Square
In this weekend's Boston Globe Magazine, business columnist Shirley Leung writes about InnerCity Weightlifting, the Dorchester gym that has provided a source of support and job opportunities to formerly incarcerated men by helping them become personal trainers. For the past two years, founder Jon Feinman has been pairing members of the gym with employees at Microsoft's New England headquarters for training sessions. Now he plans to take the idea one step further and open a gym in the heart of the Cambridge tech community. As Leung writes:
Come February or so, his theory will face the ultimate test when he opens a gym in Kendall Square, the playground of computer geniuses, scientists, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs. It’s an expensive proposition for a nonprofit — a $1.5 million lease over five years, for which InnerCity Weightlifting is still fund-raising. But Feinman, InnerCity’s founder and executive director, feels certain this is exactly where his program needs to be if the goal is to get men on a path out of their dangerous world and into one with possibilities. “We felt it was a greater risk not to make this investment,” says 31-year-old Feinman, who himself worked as a personal trainer and earned an MBA from Babson College before launching InnerCity.
The concept is so starkly simple you can’t help but wonder if it could succeed. Can we lift people up from the bottom by exposing them to the people at the top?
In today's Boston Globe, BetaBoston's Nidhi Subbaramantakes us inside Cafe ArtScience, a new restaurant and gallery space in Kendall Square where guests can revel in a Wonka-like world of food. Together with food writer Michael Floreak, she introduces us to the mind of the restaurant's proprietor, David Edwards:
The next culinary sensation in Boston may not be a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, but a Harvard scientist whose high-tech tinkering with food has produced breathable chocolates and pods of frozen yogurt wrapped in an edible skin.
Those kinds of fantastical concoctions will join more recognizable plates such as duck confit and poached tuna Nicoise salad at Café ArtScience, a new restaurant in Kendall Square that is the latest product of inventor David Edwards’s frantic imagination. His “drinks” menu includes a Manhattan cocktail infused with cigar essence and Scotch that is ingested in vapor form.
“He is an adventurer. He explores places that are not easy to go, and he is not afraid of that,” said Remy Spengler, who helps Edwards run Le Laboratoire in Paris, an art and design salon of sorts that leans heavily on scientific experimentation.
Coffee has powered all kinds of change-makers in Boston. In 1676 a man named John Sparry got authorization to open the first coffee shop in the New World. In the 1700s, activists nursed plans for revolution in the Green Dragon, a coffee shop in Boston's North End. Today, cafes lining the streets of the Seaport and Kendall Square host innovators plotting a different kind of change. Read MoreSpeak softly...Apple is growing the Cambridge research team focused on improving Siri speech recognition
On the eve of its next big product announcement, Apple is expanding its super-secret research office in Kendall Square. Several commercial realtors tell me that the Cupertino company has leased more than half a floor at One Broadway, an MIT-owned building that also houses Facebook's small local team, several venture capital firms, and the Cambridge Innovation Center. The new office, about 13,000 square feet on one of the building's upper floors, is a major expansion for Apple, which currently has a small team on the building's fifth floor.
Read Morech-ch-ch-changesUnderused Kendall Square site may finally get a makeover