I’ll be officing here starting this week, mostly in the mornings t 8:30-noonish (yes, I’ll maintain my corner office at GBM 6-8:30am). The main room has plenty of work spaces, plus a fridge, microwave, coffee pot, water cooler, lockers, and a copy machine/network printer. Not visible: fast wi-fi.
The back (east) room has three areas: a lounge, a big meeting space in the middle (tables, chairs, digital projector), and a smaller conference table in the back. The outdoor deck area (right photo) will have tables and chairs.
Megan Allen Tsui, Executive Director of the Northfield Enterprise Center, announced on the Northfield Coworking blog yesterday (Spur has a home) that they’d signed a lease for 1,400 sq. ft. of space above Dance N’ Fitness and Jenkin’s Jewelers at 313 1/2 Division St. Opening will be in early July.
Among the pluses, according to Megan: high ceilings, wood floors, entrance on Division, street level entrance off of the 5th Street parking lots, handicapped accessible.
Spur can stand for several things- sure, it’s what cowboys wear to make their horses (or businesses?) go faster, but it is also a verb that means "to accelerate." We hope that it is a good descriptor of what we hope coworking does for our community.
I’m guessing (hoping?) that the name "The Spur" will catch on, for example, "It’s too noisy at the Blue Monday at that hour. Let’s meet at the Spur instead."
No word yet on membership rates or how the space will be configured and furnished.
I don’t have time to summarize what happened (hopefully, ED Megan Tsui will do that!) but I’m guessing there will be a website within a month, as Sean Hayford O’Leary and I volunteered to get that going.
In related news, according to Megan Tsui, NEC’s executive director, "the EDA approved the NEC’s request for $20,000 in matching funds for a grant from SMIF (also $20,000)" for the "design and development of an Incubator/Accelerator (I/A) space in Northfield. The NEC will use a Co-working model with a membership structure to help make the project sustainable for the long-term." See pages 7-14 of last week’s EDA mtg packet.
I toured all three floors of the Aldsworth Building at 19 Bridge Square yesterday, courtesy of Leah Rich at Neuger Communications Group. The Aldsworth is connected to their new space at 25 Bridge Square, formerly the Community Resource Bank.
The Aldsworth seems ideal for a coworking space: smack in the middle of downtown, many small offices, two kitchens, an elevator, and several larger conference-type rooms, two of which overlook Bridge Square (above photos). Here’s the floor plans PDF:
and a few more photos:
Are there other spaces in Northfield that would be ideally suited for a coworking space?
Yesterday afternoon, Megan Allen Tsui, Executive Director of the Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC), convened a meeting of possible stakeholders and other people interested in creating a coworking/incubator/accelerator space in Northfield (background blog post here). We met in a conference room at the Neuger Communications Group.
One of the ideas that is being looked at is something called a Coworking space. They are spaces for innovative thinkers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, mentors, and sometimes non-profits to gather together around the concept that together they can build more successful companies and organizations. They are designed to be the best of many things- cool workspace, coffeehouse, social club, and high-tech conference centers.
There are several business models for Coworking locations…and at this point I believe the NEC is in “listening” mode. What do you think of this idea? Would you rent space to work a few times a week? How about a conference room that has all the latest high-tech bells and whistles yet looks out over the beautiful, historic downtown?
What if you could grab a cup of your favorite coffee and head to a space where you meet really fun, cool, innovative people doing amazing things together? Could a space like this keep recently graduated college students from leaving town?
I think the economics of a co-working facility are looking brighter, as more small organizations decide to locate in them. For example, the Citizens League recently announced that they’re moving their headquarters to CoCoMSP St. Paul in January. What small Northfield organizations could benefit from doing likewise?
What seem to be the pros and cons of a coworking space in Northfield? What questions and concerns do you have?
I’m planning to be an informal champion for it but I’m not business-savvy enough to know whether it would work here.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune about the rising trend of “co-working” space (shared space where the self-employed or telecommuting employee can plug in to work) got me thinking again about the benefits of such a space for Northfield. Is there a market?
The local coffeehouses are serving this function now, but I believe there may be an additional need for a place more conducive to work which still provides the social benefits. Shared work sites across the country have similar features – generally an open room with desks, some meeting rooms, maybe a kitchen; most are in the $150-300/month range.
…co-workers have included computer programmers and Web site developers, road-warrior salesmen who need a quiet place to make sales calls, a graduate student writing his doctoral dissertation and even a woman who runs a dog-walking business.
That’s a typically broad cross section of the people who use coworking sites, part of what author Daniel Pink calls “Free Agent Nation,” the independent contractors and freelance workers who can work anywhere as long as they can plug in a laptop, use their cell phones and hook up to the Internet.
As an indication of how big that nation is becoming, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of single-person businesses increased from 16.5 million in 2000 to 20.4 million in 2005.
Let’s pretend that we had an appropriately configured space here in Northfield. Are there those who would sign up at $150/month? Is there even a need for such a space? I think yes, knowing a large number of self-employed and entrepreneurial types who don’t have dedicated office space.