The innovation district will be implemented in three broad phases:
Phase I: Development and Implementation (Year 1) — Mercyhurst and its partners will hire a nationally known expert on creating innovation districts and a CEO to ensure the success of the project. At present, the group has engaged DHR International, a global executive search firm, to identify CEO candidates. Moving forward, the university will create the infrastructure with its partners, finalize site selection in downtown Erie, and determine cost estimates for renovations.
Phase II: Expansion and Growth (Years 2-3 ) — This phase will focus on the expansion and growth of the innovation district through the inclusion of additional university and corporate partners and the continued buy-in of community leaders in the public and private sectors. During this phase, the innovation district will apply for 501(c)(3) status en route to becoming a self-sustaining organization.
Phase III: Sustainability (Years 4-5) — This phase will focus on the long-term sustainability of the innovation district beyond year five by concentrating on new products, innovations and industries that can be created in Erie.