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Will a green trade center take root in Woburn?

Posted by Scott Kirsner  December 2, 2009 07:25 AM

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During my Open Office Hours last week, I had a chance to chat with Joshua Levitt, the prime mover behind an interesting project up in Woburn: the International Green Technology Trade Center. The goal is to open a "permanent trade show" featuring energy-related technologies from around the world, and host an on-going series of conferences and seminars to bring people in. Their tag line is "Where the world meets to trade green."

Levitt has his eyes on the TradeCenter 128 building in Woburn, which has solar panels on the roof and has a gold-level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. His objective is to sign up 50 tenants, and open the center in about 25,000 square feet by February. "We've got a lot of small, independent companies signed up," Levitt says, though he won't reveal a specific number.

Levitt says the lowest price for a 150-square foot showroom booth is $1800 per month. "But it also can double as office space for a lot of companies that may have a sales rep who is currently working out of their house," he says. The center's job, he explains, will be to bring in a steady flow of professionals to take courses or attend conferences in the space -- and, not incidentally, to tour the collection of booths. He's talking to various local trade associations, such as the New England Clean Energy Council, about hosting cocktail parties and other gatherings in the space.

Levitt says they haven't yet signed a lease, but rather have an option on the square footage from Cummings Properties, the developer. Levitt's partner in the project is Fred Altman, who has consulted with European companies on marketing their products in the U.S. and created several showroom facilities around the country for clothing, jewelry, and furniture manufacturers.

Levitt is off next week on a trip to Israel and the Netherlands to try to sign up more tenants for the IGTTC. You can follow his progress on the IGTTC's Twitter feed.

(The image above is a rendering of what the center's signage might look like.)

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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