3D design software firm Autodesk (ADSK) announced it will open a large office in the Innovation and Design Building in the South Boston Seaport District this fall. The company will have 67,000 square feet to start and will be moving its 150-person Waltham office and 30-person Boston office, near South Station, into the new Seaport space as soon as October.
The office, located at 23 Drydock Ave., will serve as Autodesk’s flagship East Coast office, the company said. Along with housing staff, the location will also include space for product prototyping machines, as well as room for as many as 15 to 20 startups that will receive free space, said Autodesk vice president Jim Lynch.
On Monday, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Boston economic development chief John Barros are expected to attend an event at the new site marking the arrival of Autodesk in the Innovation District. The facility—which will be built out in coming months—is located inside a building owned by real estate firm Jamestown; other occupants in the building include the MassChallenge startup accelerator. A key factor in the move to Boston from Waltham is the proximity to young talent coming out of universities and to experienced entrepreneurs—both of which tend to want to be in the city, Lynch said.
Autodesk’s deal includes the option to add additional square footage, and expects to move up to 87,000 square feet within one or two years, Lynch said—and ultimately, the company has access to 120,000 square feet.
The new office follows several recent moves by California-based Autodesk in the Boston area, including the acquisition of development shop Terrible Labs—which led to the establishment of the office in the South Station area—and the creation of a program in Waltham that offers space to startups.
Lynch said the startups co-located with Autodesk—either in Waltham or the forthcoming South Boston office—may or may not have anything to do with the building industry. “We’re not just focused on companies doing things in our industry,” he said. “We want ideas that we think are interesting, and teams that have the right energy and the right passion. Those are the teams we let come in.”
As for the prototyping space—dubbed the BUILD space, or Building Innovation Learning and Design Space—it will aim to provide a way to explore the fabrication techniques of the future, Lynch said. The space will include robots, laser cutters, milling machines and welding stations, and will “really allow people to explore what the next generation of the building industry might look like,” he said.
Staff-wise, the new facility will house employees involved in the development of software for the architecture, engineering and construction industry, such as Autodesk’s Revit and BIM 360 products. (Worth noting: Autodesk says its software was recently used in the development of Boston’s 2024 Olympic Bid.)
Autodesk will be closing its Waltham office once the Seaport office opens, but keeping its office in Manchester, N.H.—though some employees may move from Manchester to the new Boston office when it opens, Lynch said.