Tech entrepreneurs are moving on up...to downtown. They're not only at the forefront of technology, but also leading big-city downtown revivals.
New York City has been promoting its Plug `N' Go program for several years, luring tech start-ups and established firms into renovated and wired buildings. Paul Guzyk, founder of InfoHouse Inc. (http://www.infohouse.com), a high-bandwidth ISP, made the move in 1996. "It's great to be in the center of it all," says Guzyk, 34. "When we originally moved downtown, there were very few Internet companies; now there are hundreds." Guzyk lists the advantages: "Fair rent, fiber optics, flexible office space options, lots of talent. However, the nightlife sucks."
Chicago, already home to more than 8,000 tech businesses, has been eyeing New York City's success. Mayor Richard Daley announced Chicago's own Technology Initiative last year. A cornerstone of his plan to make Chicago "a high-tech capital in the 21st century" is to renovate the historic Lytton Building and integrate it into the Chicago Information Technology Exchange (CITe).
The CITe calls for a high-bandwidth fiber optic backbone, an uninterruptible power supply backup generator, videoconferencing system, business satellite TV service, a coffeehouse and more. Chicago expects it to rival New York's success.