RIDC announced the realization of the mission of the Robert Mehrabian Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC) with the acquisition of the property by Carnegie Mellon University in October of 2014. The CIC was a collaborative project between the RIDC and Carnegie Mellon, along with the Commonwealth of PA and the Urban Redevelopment Authority to create a landing pad for university-related technology companies in the region. It was originally designed to complement with physical space the programmatic efforts of the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse initiative.
CMU leased the land to RIDC in 2003 to develop a building for companies looking to collaborate with the university to create new commercial concepts and products. RIDC completed construction of the 127,636 square-foot dry-lab research building along with a parking garage in 2005. The building, which has an address of 4720 Forbes Avenue, is located along the hillside of Panther Hollow. The CIC received a Gold Core and Shell LEED certificate.
The CIC is one step towards the vision shared by Carnegie Mellon and RIDC to attract a robust corporate tech presence in Pittsburgh. The CIC was the landing pad for several nationally known technology companies. The CIC was the first Pittsburgh home of Google in 2006, which later expanded to Bakery Square -- another property RIDC rescued from demolition before selling it to Walnut Capital for the Bakery Square development. CIC also became the region’s home to Disney, Apple, Intel and includes other university related tenants. “The Robert Mehrabian Collaborative Innovation Center represents a core RIDC mission – Providing real estate solutions to support high quality job creation and tax base enhancement. A key component of that is the growing corporate tech sector that leverages our region’s investments in research universities,” said Donald F. Smith, Jr., President of RIDC.
"The CIC is where CMU and industry meet," said Amir Rahnamay-Azar, CMU vice president and chief financial officer. "CMU's talented faculty and students continue to attract cutting-edge tech companies, and we look forward to the opportunities that building ownership will bring in furthering both existing and new corporate alliances."
The development of the CIC is one of many projects where RIDC has partnered with the universities. RIDC assisted CMU in their construction of buildings at the Pittsburgh Technology Center and constructed three University Technology Development Centers (UTDC) as well as CMU's Software Engineering Institute building. RIDC has also supported numerous university related startup companies to find space and to finance their build-out including FORE Systems, RedZone Robotics, Aquion Energy, and Carnegie Robotics.