This half-day session will focus on economic development and the transformation of Worcester's skyline. Game Changers will highlight the developers, business owners, innovators, and others who are investing in the city in new ways creating dynamic changes that are garnering regional and national attention.
Panel discussions will focus on residential and commercial development, along with new retail and sporting facilities, innovation and education, and hospitality, arts, and entertainment in the city that create a vibrant 18-hour environment in Worcester's downtown and beyond.
Panel Discussions - Session I: 9:45 - 10:45 am
Design it, Make it, Ship it
Long a bastion of manufacturers, Worcester began the transformation from making wire cables, textiles, and a variety of other goods, to manufacturing tools used in space exploration, biotech research and development, new medicines to treat diseases, and much more. The city’s central location, easy access to an intermodal freight yard, an expanding airport with customs clearing capacity and a large, skilled workforce make it a great location for industrial companies. Learn about developments underway that will increase the already diverse number of items made in Central Massachusetts.
Higher Ed Drives Innovation, Launches Start-ups
The Worcester region is home to 12 colleges and universities and more than 38,000 students from around the world. Hear how institutions of higher education, the innovation economy, and the business community is tapping into that educated workforce to transform the region’s economy creating niche sectors including digital gaming, app development, robotics, and biomedical companies.
Hospitality, Arts, and Entertainment – An Eclectic Mix
There is plenty to explore in Worcester—vibrant cultural centers, parks and recreation, dining, and festivals. From the theater district to the Worcester Art Museum and the EcoTarium to the new hockey rinks, the Heart of the Commonwealth offers something for everyone. Hear from experts in the hospitality industry who are investing to make Worcester a destination for activity in the downtown, and as inspiration for a discussion to further invigorate partnerships and brand the community as a place to live, work, and play!
Panel Discussions - Session II: 11:00 am - 12:00 noon
Urban Living – A Lofty Move
More than 800 new residential apartments have or will be coming online in Worcester’s downtown district. The Edge at Union Station, Voke Lofts, Junction Shop Lofts, Roseland’s luxury apartments, The Grid’s five properties, and the Micro-lofts, offer a variety of urban living options with easy access to commuter rail, nightlife, and other amenities that appeal to young professionals, empty-nesters, and many other demographics. Find out why there’s such demand and how these developments are creating a vibrant, 18-hour downtown.
Heads in Beds – Hotel Development on the Rise
One of Worcester’s best assets is its convention center and arena—bringing in thousands of visitors every year. While Worcester’s hotel occupancy is significantly higher than the national average, additional hotel development can mean the potential for more conventions and events to the region. The economic impact of these events in 2016 was over $9 million. More than 300 hotel rooms have or will be added by 2017. Hear why hotel developers are investing in Worcester’s downtown.
Downtown and Business Districts Poised to Cash in on Retail Revolution
Get ready to shop! Developers are incorporating retail spaces into their redevelopment projects as they work to change Worcester’s skyline. From services, to dining, to specialty retailers, downtown Worcester will bustle with commercial activity as office workers, visitors, and residents take advantage of the convenience of retail stores that are just down the street from their office, hotel, and homes. Hear what they have planned for these storefronts and what new opportunities are available for businesses of all shapes and sizes.