New Iowa City coworking space, MERGE, hosts an open house Thursday

MERGE Open House and Ribbon Cutting

MERGE (136 S Dubuque St) — Thursday, June 15 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Photo by Zak Neumann

MERGE Innovation Space, an expansion of the IC CoLab, is hosting an open house and ribbon cutting to celebrate its grand opening starting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in its Ped Mall location. Protostudios, a rapid prototyping facility located within MERGE, and its counterpart on the University of Iowa medical campus, the Translational Research Incubator (TRI), will also be celebrating their kickoff.

The open house will include an official ribbon cutting ceremony with the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce at 4 p.m. Refreshments will be available and people are encouraged to tour the space, which has recently been renovated.

The workspace is a collaboration between Iowa City Area Development (which is managing the space), the City of Iowa City, the UI Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center

“The opening of MERGE in the heart of downtown Iowa City, and the unprecedented public and private partnerships that led to this day, should be a loud and clear statement that this community values the entrepreneurial and creative business spirit and further believes it is essential to our future economic development success in the Creative Corridor,” Geoff Fruin, Iowa City’s city manager, said in a press release.

The IC CoLab originally opened in 2013 on Court Street and moved to the Ped Mall location last year. Renovations were completed last month. MERGE offers open workspace benches, offices, conference rooms and a large training room available for entrepreneurs, start-ups and businesses as well as community events. The space also offers free, ultra-fast Wi-Fi through a partnership with ImOn Communications.

Protostudios is a “dry lab” that offers prototyping, 3D printing, machining and technical support to UI researchers developing medical devices as well as other Iowa businesses and entrepreneurs. TRI is protostudios’ “wet lab,” allowing medical researchers to further develop their ideas and advance proofs of concept.

“The University of Iowa has a long history of fostering innovation and discovery that fuels the state’s economy,” Daniel A. Reed, UI Vice President for Research and Economic Development, said in a press release. “This partnership allows all Iowa innovators, whether inside or outside the university, to move their ideas into the marketplace while developing a technology talent pool that will secure the Creative Corridor’s reputation as a hub of engineering and biomedical commercialization.”

Office space in the IC CoLab at MERGE is available at various rates ranging from a daily drop-in rate to a full-time team office space, based upon availability.

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