I’ve long thought about how economically beneficial (and cool) it would be to have a co-working space in Northfield, ever since Tracy Davis blogged here about the idea back in 2008.
I’ve been to the 3rd Place coworking space in St. Anthony Park in St. Paul for meetings. I’ve been to CoCoMSP‘s Lowertown location in downtown St. Paul several times for meetings and conferences. Next week I’ll attend a conference at their new downtown Minneapolis location in the Grain Exchange building. See this Oct. 28 WCCO-TV story (text and video) about coworking there (the ‘brain exchange’ as Mpls Mayor RT Rybak evidently calls it) titled CoCo Reinvents Office Space In Twin Cities:
More recently, I’ve been mentioning to people that the old Aldsworth Building on Bridge Square would be perfect for this, now that Neuger Communications Group has taken it over. It’s currently sitting empty.
Earlier this week I met with Megan Allen Tsui, the new Executive Director of the Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC). She’s been exploring the coworking idea with the NEC board and has a new blog post about it titled Coworking as Business Accelerator In Northfield? A couple of excerpts:
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.
So let the discussion begin.