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Renovating a building (even a free one) for use as a business incubator can cost more than constructing a custom-made facility. Still, creative managers have made use of some pretty unusual existing real estate to house incubation programs. Here are profiles of some of those unique places.

Buildings with a past: Incubators nurture new businesses in old buildings

by Corinne Colbert

April 2007

Turning an existing building into a business incubator is no simple thing. Even a free building may wind up being more expensive than a newly built facility once you pay for renovations and all the inevitable surprises that crop up along the way. In fact, many incubation experts say “building-driven projects” – incubators launched solely to use an available building – are a prime cause of incubator failure.

But that hasn’t stopped many incubation programs from using available real estate to their advantage – and some pretty unusual real estate, at that. With patience, sweat equity, a sense of humor and sometimes large outlays of cash, these programs have made silk purses from sows’ ears. Here are just a few of the NBIA member programs that have taken up residence in unique places, along with their stories.

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This article also is available as a PDF Quick Reference document through the NBIA Bookstore.

Keywords: budget -- incubator, economic development, facility management, facility renovation/expansion, facility selection/construction/renovation

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