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Janesville Innovation Center continues to succeed

Five years since opening its doors to entrepreneurs in 2013, the Janesville Innovation Center will be self-sufficient this year after the city stopped subsidizing it in 2017, the center’s operations manager told the Janesville City Council on Monday.

Mike Mathews said the business incubator he manages at 2949 W. Venture Drive on the city’s south side is currently at capacity. Two current tenants are planning to leave, and others are lining up to fill those vacancies.

N1 Critical Technologies will soon finish its relocation to the former Red Cross service center at 211 N. Parker Drive in downtown Janesville.

Mathews said the company’s renovation of the building is a “must see.”

K4 Innovations will move to Edgerton, Mathews said.

Three potential tenants have emerged to replace those companies at the innovation center, he said.

“Fortunately, the demand for the space has timed well with the exit of some of our tenants,” Mathews said.

The city stopped subsidizing the center last year. The plan all along was to slowly decrease how much city money went into the center before cutting funding altogether.

“We’re surviving totally now on our rental income, which is a lot easier to do when you’re at 100 percent” capacity, Mathews said.

The center budgeted conservatively this year, but rental revenue this year will outpace expectations, he said. The center budgeted $124,000 in revenue and $110,000 in expenses for 2018.

The center has had a total of 13 tenants, seven of which occupy the center now.

Monthly rates to rent office suites that include utilities range from $275 to $465. Rates for manufacturing spaces range from $515 for 450 square feet to $2,185 for 4,200 square feet, according to the center’s website.

Councilman Jim Farrell asked if the rates are constant or if they’ve fluctuated. Mathews said they increase by about 3 percent annually.

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