Check out MERGE in downtown Iowa City!

May 31, 2017 |

IOWA CITY, IA, May 31, 2017– Iowa City Area Development (ICAD) along with its partners—the City of Iowa City, the University of Iowa Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPR&ED), and the UI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC)—are pleased to announce the official launch of MERGE and protostudios in downtown Iowa City. The UI is also launching its Translational Research Incubator (TRI) on the UI medical campus in tandem with the grand openings of MERGE and protostudios.

The Open House will take place at MERGE located at 136 S. Dubuque St., Iowa City, from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 15. Refreshments will be available starting at 3:30 p.m., and the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce will hold an official ribbon cutting at 4 p.m., followed by remarks by project partners. The open house will highlight the recent completion of renovations at MERGE, designed by Neumann Monson Architects and completed by McComas-Lacina Construction Company. Tours of the space are encouraged.

“The opening of MERGE in the heart of downtown Iowa City, and the unprecedented public and private partnerships that led to this day, should be a loud and clear statement that this community values the entrepreneurial and creative business spirit and further believes it is essential to our future economic development success in the Creative Corridor,” commented Geoff Fruin, the City of Iowa City’s City Manager.

MERGE Innovation Space, an expansion of the IC CoLab, is managed by ICAD. The IC CoLab originally opened on Court Street in 2013 and moved to the Dubuque Street location in May 2016. Renovations were completed in May 2017. MERGE offers coworking with open workspace benches, dedicated offices, conference rooms, large training room, business resources, community events, 3D printing, free coffee and much more. ICAD has also partnered with ImOn Communications to offer free, ultra-fast Wi-Fi at MERGE.

“ImOn is proud to partner with Iowa City Area Development to bring free, ultra-fast, reliable, fiber optic Internet service to the new MERGE space. MERGE is such a great community asset and having robust ImOn Internet connectivity available only magnifies the possibilities this space offers.” said Greg Crosby, ImOn Vice President and General Manager of the Iowa City Market.

MERGE is designed to create and cultivate a knowledge ecosystem for entrepreneurs and startups building interstate commerce companies, and offering vital resources and connections to successfully create, launch and grow new companies in Iowa’s Creative Corridor.

Protostudios is also opening in the MERGE space, offering an advanced “dry lab” for advanced prototyping and machining, along with technical support, particularly for the development of medical devices by UI researchers, although it is available for use to businesses and entrepreneurs across the state of Iowa. TRI is protostudios’ “wet lab” counterpart and is located in the UI’s Medical Laboratories, where medical researchers can assess their intellectual property and develop proofs of concept on the path toward commercialization.

“The University of Iowa has a long history of fostering innovation and discovery that fuels the state’s economy,” said Daniel A. Reed, UI Vice President for Research and Economic Development. “This partnership allows all Iowa innovators, whether inside or outside the university, to move their ideas into the marketplace while developing a technology talent pool that will secure the Creative Corridor’s reputation as a hub of engineering and biomedical commercialization.”

This collaboration compliments ICAD’s mission and vision as they continuously work to enhance the quality of communities they serve through business development needs of interstate commerce companies. ICAD leads regional economic development initiatives that contribute to the creation and growth of companies, wealth and quality jobs through a spirit of innovation and a culture of sharing that transforms knowledge into economic opportunity.

To learn more about ICAD visit or 319-354-3939. How can ICAD help your company?

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If you would like more information about MERGE, please contact Erin Pottebaum at 319-354-3939 or email at For information about protostudios or TRI, contact Stephen Pradarelli at 319-384-1282 or