The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Cutting-edge technology at the edge of College Station

Photo by Caroline Wilburn

DesignSpark Innovation Center in Bryan, TX on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023.

Located less than 10 miles from Texas A&M, the Lake Walk community provides a unique hub of technology, innovation and community, including the Design Spark Innovation Center. 

The building is strategically poised to facilitate and retain research, resources and expertise in the Brazos Valley, according to the Design Spark Innovation Center’s website. The Innovation Center is a partnership between the privately-owned real estate company William Cole and the city of Bryan

William Cole Marketing and Events Coordinator Kate Chapman said the Innovation Center aims to drive economic growth within Bryan by serving as a hub or catalyst for businesses to operate from.

“The goal is that with the help of Design Spark, we’re finding these companies, growing and shaping them and then they’re going to go buy some land over here and build their own campus,” Chapman said. “That’s what this building is used for.”

William Cole President Spencer Clements, Class of 1986, said the Innovation Center provides a unique opportunity for collaboration within the company. 

“It was designed for people to bump into each other, and you know, that’s how innovation takes place, as it can’t be just behind closed doors all the time,” Clements said. “It’s good to have your quiet time, it’s good to have your thinking time, but also you need to be aware of your opportunities to meet somebody new and find out what they’re working on … It’s been fun to see the companies that have come through here succeed. It’s also really just a great, inspirational building.”

In addition to being a home for startups and businesses, the Innovation Center provides events and networking opportunities to local businesses. Meeting every Wednesday morning, 1 Million Cups hosts an entrepreneur speaker at the Innovation Center to share more about owning a local business.  

The idea of the Innovation Center is to grow jobs within the Brazos Valley and it is selective when allowing businesses to use the space, Clements said. 

“We’re not looking to be the standard office building where they just stay here for 15 years,” Clements said. “We need them to have a purpose, to come in here, have a plan and a path for growth and then we can try to help them with that … Our best day is when they leave and then they stay [in Bryan]. Hopefully Lake Walk but maybe somewhere else … We’ve got 147 acres in College Station, we’ve got a bunch of land in Bryan so it helps both cities. It helps the region of Texas A&M.”

Despite only working in the Innovation Center for less than a month, BlueForgeAlliance Chief Development Officer Matt Prochaska, Class of 1986, said he thoroughly enjoys the building’s workspace. 

“The location is great,” Prochaska said. “Also, the amenities, like for us having people come from out of town and to be able to stay at The Stella [Hotel] is really convenient, and proximity to the university.”

As opposed to other major cities in Texas, Aggieland provides something unique for his company, Clements said. 

“You can know your city council members, you can know your mayors, you can know your professors or deans or university officials, administrators, executives, and it’s a lot of fun,” Clements said. “It’s hard to have this kind of impact in a city the size of Houston. We’re fortunate to be in this market. And they’re fantastic people, we just love it.”

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