“As part of the Startup Initiative, the City does plan on centering its first ‘innovation hub’ around the UW. Lazowska said that, given the critical role of research universities in innovation, he and his colleagues have worked hard to get more tech companies to open up their HQs in the U-District. But because the surrounding area is ‘an ocean of head shops, pho restaurants, and squalid student housing,’ that’s been extremely difficult.
“However, a new light rail station that will open toward the end of the decade could change things, and combined with the research coming out of the UW, may turn the U-District into a humming innovation center.
“‘There will be lots of construction going on, and at the end of it, the U-District will be a big-time transit hub,’ Lazowska said. ‘Let’s take advantage of this to envision a broader transformation …’
“‘I think we are on the verge of the big time,’ Lazowska said. ‘We’re right at the tipping point. The goal of this initiative is to push us over the edge.'”