BOSTON IS green with envy over the Cambridge Innovation Center, a brilliant real estate concept that provides flexible office space in Kendall Square for start-up, technology-oriented companies and venture capitalists. With conference rooms galore and airy workspaces that still allow for plenty of shoulder-rubbing, the center boasts that its tenants have raised more than $1.2 billion in venture capital since 2001.
The Menino administration promises to break ground this spring for a scaled-down innovation center in the Seaport Square development along Northern Avenue. The best innovation centers are large enough for scores or even hundreds of small start-up companies to share state-of-the-art work space and administrative services with like-minded entrepreneurs. The Boston innovation center won’t be big enough for that. Instead, it will be more a place where tech-savvy workers in black turtlenecks a la Steve Jobs can hang out, attend workshops, and strengthen their social and business connections.