The eight-story Innovation and Design Building (IDB) complex was constructed on the Commonwealth Flats by the U.S. Department of Defense in 1918, and it originally served as a waterside storehouse for the South Boston Army Base. In its heyday during World War II, 50,000 people worked around the clock at the South Boston Army Base and neighboring South Boston Naval Annex repairing and overhauling American ships and warehousing and distributing a wide range of military goods and supplies. The City of Boston acquired the IDB facility and neighboring properties from the U.S. Army and Navy in 1983 and established the Boston Marine Industrial Park. The creative and entrepreneurial spirit that presided in South Boston’s 20th Century manufacturing and warehousing zones lives on in the workspaces of today’s innovation economy businesses. Today the 1.4 million square foot Innovation and Design Building is home to a dynamic mix of companies and industries that include architecture and creative service studios, specialized manufacturing facilities, research and development firms, and technology start-ups including global headquarters to Reebok, America’s Test Kitchen, Autodesk, Continuum, Elkus Manfredi Architects to name a few. At its western end the IDB complex is anchored by the Boston Design Center, New England’s premier resource for design professionals, with showrooms featuring more than 1,200 luxury furnishing and decorating product lines. Over the last 100 years, the IDB has evolved as an innovative ecosystem in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood, with more than 200 business and 3,400 workers in tech start-up, creative and design, and maritime industrial companies.


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