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.
The open space and windows looking out on Bridge Square and Division are stunning. Even cooler is the extent to which local organizations were involved in the renovation. From the press release:
The list of area people and organizations that played a significant role in the renovation include: Bierman’s Home Furnishings and Flooring, Blesener’s Quality Exteriors, City of Northfield, Custom Glass & Mirror, First National Bank of Northfield, Jennifer Wolcott, Keith Pumper Plumbing & Heating, Inc., Koktavy & Daleiden Painting, LLC, Lamperts Yards, Inc., Lars Stromayer, Nerstrand Custom Cabinets, Northfield Construction Company, Northfield Economic Development Authority, Schulz Electric, Inc., ServiceMaster by Ayotte, SMSQ Architects and Southern Minnesota Woodcraft. Northfield Construction Company served as the general contractor and Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates was the principal architect of the renovation in partnership with roofing findlay oh.
Founder and CEO Dave Neuger was unavailable while I was there. He was busy installing another gong, this time under the table in the big conference room. Gong? Yep. Ask him about the gong.
About a year ago, Northfield Public Schools superintendent Chris Richardson accepted my offer to meet with him so I could explain why the District’s website sucked big time. He took copious notes, and his eyes did not seem to glaze over. But I seriously doubted anything would come of it.
Imagine my delighted surprise when two District staffers, Administrative Support Assistant Heather Kuchinka and Matt Hillman, Director of Human Resources and Technology, signed up for my online WordPress for Noobs course. They then revealed that they were about to unveil a new District website, based on WordPress, constructed by Daniel Edwins, WordPress guru at Neuger Communications Group.
Last week, gave Heather and Matt gave me a preview and during the meeting, Chris stopped by to toss around some lingo, something to the effect of "We’ve got a boatload of RSS feeds and our permalinks are the prettiest around." You rock, Chris!
Today, the District portion of the revamped site is up, and according to this news item (note that pretty permalink), "In the coming months, we will be rolling out new individual school sites in an effort to mirror the updates made at the district level."
They’ve set up a feedback page with a form on it, but I hate that. I can’t learn from the feedback from anyone else, nor can I read their reaction to the feedback. So if you’re a fan of public feedback and conversation-as-a-path-to-public engagement, post your feedback in a comment here and I’ll see if I can twist their arms to join us.