Letters | the city and its spaces

In urban regeneration, start-ups play a fluid role

In his column about the Innovation District being the victim of its own success, the ever-insightful Paul McMorrow laments that start-ups can no longer afford the rents and are migrating to lower-cost parts of town (“Priced out of the Innovation District,” Op-ed, Aug. 13). But isn’t that a victory for urban regeneration?

Like artists before them, start-ups are locational risk takers in search of undervalued building stock. Their presence attracts others, who occupy more dead spaces. Before long, rent increases make it feasible for owners to improve their buildings or sell them to others who will do so. Soon stores and restaurants animate empty storefronts. Then comes the best part: The start-ups have to move to gestate the renewal of another district.

Matthew Kiefer


The writer practices real estate development and land use law.