Ion Prototype Lab Unveiled at Houston Innovation District

HOUSTON (Realty News Report) – The Ion, a 266,000 SF innovation hub has opened a prototyping lab in conjunction with TXRX Labs, a non-profit innovation and job training provider.

Developed by Rice Management Co., which is affiliated with Rice University, The Ion is a redevelopment of the an old art-deco Sears store, which opened in 1939 at 4201 Main Street.  The Ion, located in Midtown, near Wheeler and Richmond avenues, is part of a 16-acre emerging innovation district owned by the $6.5 billion Rice University endowment.

The Ion Prototyping Lab, a 6,500-SF space designed by the Houston office of global architecture and design firm Gensler, is the largest open corporate and startup-aligned prototyping space in Houston, according to Rice.

The lab’s equipment and engineering resources are provided by TXRX and The Ion, includes prototyping and small-batch manufacturing tools, such as laser cutters, CNC mills and lathes, electronics assembly equipment, and 3D printers.

Electronics Assembly, Welding, Laser Cutters

The lab also has onsite access to engineers and advanced technicians in industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, additive manufacturing, welding, machining, and laser cutting.

Officially named “The Ion Prototyping Lab (IPL) powered by TXRX,”  the facility is described as “an innovation center that will allow startups and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and industries access to equipment and technical support.”

The prototyping lab will provide an internship program connecting startups and entrepreneurs with emerging engineering talent from Houston universities.

“With its close proximity to Houston’s Central Business District and The Texas Medical Center, The Ion is thrilled to provide the Houston tech community the Prototyping Lab operated by TXRX as an essential resource for businesses,” said Jan E. Odegard, Executive Director of The Ion. “The Ion serves as a driver and convener of activity, while TXRX’s successful model of hands-on training and technological innovation is being leveraged to jumpstart the activity of entrepreneurs, corporations, and researchers. You think it, we make it.”

Other tenants at The Ion include Microsoft and the coworking organization Common Desk, which is being acquired by WeWork.

The Sears Husk

Old Sears stores, like the one used for The Ion, are being demolished, redeveloped or leased to other users.

Once the dominant retailer in America, Sears Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018.

Only 17 Sears stores remain open in the United States, according to a January 2022 update.

At its peak, Sears, founded in 1892 as a mail ordering catalog company, had more than 3,000 stores.

Feb. 1,  2022 Realty News Report Copyright 2022.

Image: Courtesy The Ion. Pictured is the audience at a Jan 31, 2022 press conference at The Ion.

Photo credit: Alex Montoya

File: Ion Prototype Lab Unveiled

File: Rice Management. Ion Prototype Lab Unveiled. IPL.TXRX. Rice University


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