CIC Says Expansion May Slow, Won’t Stop After Kimball Departure

The Cambridge Innovation Center‘s expansion plans have hit a speed bump.

After several years as the leading hub of startup activity in the Boston area, the CIC has recently been working to expand its value-added real estate business to other cities. Those plans, however, were complicated with news today that the expansion project’s lead executive, Ranch Kimball, has been hired as chief operating officer at nearby Babson College.

Kimball, a former economic development official in the Romney administration, had been serving as president and CEO of CIC Partners, the Cambridge Innovation Center offshoot in charge of expanding the CIC’s brand of all-in-one, startup-friendly office space to new cities.

So far, that project has focused on two confirmed cities: Baltimore and St. Louis. The St. Louis project appears closer to reality, with details already announced about the CIC’s deal with a real-estate developer opening a new life sciences-focused startup zone in the area.

Cambridge Innovation Center CEO Tim Rowe is now running the expansion initiative. Rowe says Kimball’s departure “probably slows it down a little bit. He was leading the effort, with me standing behind him, and now the rest of us are filling in.”

But Rowe said the project isn’t stalling.

“I don’t think it should affect us much. It’s something I’ve been very involved with from the beginning, of course, and I’m going to be leading going forward,” he says. “We think Ranch had a terrific opportunity and we’re excited for him.”

Meanwhile, the CIC is in discussions with “a couple of other places” for possible expansions, Rowe said. He declined to name the cities, saying those discussions are still in early stages.

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