Sunday, October 31, 2004

Nano-Economics in Lowell, Mass.

This Lowell Sun story can be filed under nanotech as an engine of economic creation. It's just another example of one point I made to the Foresight Institute, a nanotech think tank, last week in my talk -- that legislators don't care if you're talking nanotech or knitting, as long as you can show that it could create jobs during their time in office.

Speaking of jobs, if the Lowell Sun's online archives were to go back to around 1991-'92, you'd see the work of a young, lowly stringer scribbling through local selectmen, school board and town meetings to pay the bills to support his newborn daughter. I did that to supplement my income from The Haverhill Gazette, where I was a reporter and editor from '87-'92. My biggest thrill as a reporter back then was trudging through the snow with the national media and presidential candidates during the 1988 New Hampshire primary. But, that's a story for another day ...

    Nanotechnology isn't just a funny word

    It could also be the key to revitalizing Lowell's commercial office-space market, making up for losses never quite offset since Wang Laboratories folded in the early 1990s.

    Officials at UMass Lowell covet a corner of their Lawrence Mills complex now the site of a 152-condominium "Renaissance on the River" project by Boston developer Edward Fish for a new, state-of-the-art center for nanotechnology manufacturing research, making Lowell and its surroundings a highly attractive location for companies that wish to mass-produce inventions derived from the tiny technology.

    State Sen. Steven Panagiotakos, a Lowell Democrat, has made getting that center built, and renovating the Lawrence Mills complex around it, a central focus of his work on Beacon Hill.

    Gov. Romney promised $19.5 million to the nano center in his supplemental budget. Unfortunately, that proposal was dead on arrival at the Legislature, which left the nano money out of its own supplemental budget.

    But all is not lost. Word is that Romney, in response to lobbying from the Lowell legislative delegation, has given tacit approval to freeing up $23 million in already approved higher-education bond money for the project. More here

NanoBot Backgrounder
From Wilkes-Barre to Wolfe
Sen. Clinton on nano-inequities and nano-economics
A nano chicken in every pot

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