An innovation lab, new offices for the city’s Office of Performance Improvement and Innovation and the home of CNET’s new Urban Smart Home will open early this fall in a city-owned property at 745 W. Main Street.
Mayor Greg Fischer announced Wednesday morning that the space will encourage private-public collaboration and that there will be room for events, meetings and co-working space.
LouieLab will be on the fourth floor of the building and will feature an open office for the OPI2 team. Two-thirds of the floor will be open for civic- and innovation-minded organizations to use for meeting, event and training space. “The fourth floor community will be one of pioneering innovation,” Fischer said.
CNET will be using the top floor as its second Smart Home in Louisville. At the Smart Home, CNET employees test smart home technology, everything from programmable thermostats to app-connected ovens. CNET will transform the unfinished apartment into its first smart apartment.
“Continuous improvement and innovation are bedrocks of Louisville Metro Government, and so is the belief in the problem-solving power of collaboration among citizens, businesses and their government. LouieLab is the physical manifestation of our commitment to these principles,” Fischer said in a news release.
Giant windows on both floors overlook the Ohio. Structural engineers are looking into building deck space.
Incoming Chief of Innovation, Grace Simrall, said she expected the build-out of both floors to take around six weeks. Until then, she’ll be working a few blocks away near city hall.
Earlier this year, IL reported that the city was seeking to sell the building, which it acquired in 2007 for $2 million as a planned expansion of the Kentucky Science Center. The 136-year old building is the former Old Alexander Hotel. The first floor is still occupied by the Science Center and the second and third floors are law offices.