Shared Workspace in Charlottesville

Daniel and the folks at Cloudbrain have proposed what I think is a brilliant idea that is probably being done elsewhere … this would be perfect for Realtors who don’t need the wasteful infrastructure provided by larger facilities, when all many of us need is a coffee shop, occasionally a larger conference room and quiet space to work/write. The idea’s not necessarily new; I’ve heard it a couple of times locally over the past few years – what’s needed is for someone to step to the plate and lead the way.

Based on the comments on his post, it seems that there are plenty of interested people out there seeking this space.

We’ve been throwing this idea around for a while and I’ve talked to enough people that have been excited about it, it seemed time to take the idea to a new level: A Blog Post.

WHAT IF…

We leased one of the large empty office spaces on the Downtown Mall and turned it in to a workspace for internet workers, developers, designers, bloggers, writers (etc.) that work alone or in small teams.  It might look something like:

  • Fast WiFi
  • Large tables where you could work on your laptop
  • Couches and comfy chairs for lounging / discussions
  • A conference room you could use for meetings with clients
  • Coffee, WII, Xbox and other brain stimulants
  • Whiteboards for brainstorming and announcements
  • Simple rules like “Headphones = Do Not Disturb”
  • A community of smart creative web workers

There seems to be a lot of 1 – 4 person companies in Cville that (1) Spend most of their time on a computer (2) Want to be Downtown (3) Are paying too much for office space or work from home and (3) Would benefit from being around other creative people during the day.

We could charge a monthly fee (similar to a gym membership) and you could use it as much or as little as you want.  Would anyone be interested in something like this?  Leave a comment with feedback / suggestions.  If we could get 15-20 people to commit, I think it could be do-able.

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5 Comments

  1. Daniel December 19, 2008 at 13:29

    Thanks Jim! It’s definitely not a new idea. I’ve been jealously reading about super hip internet companies and workers in other cities that have been a part of things like this. A few weeks ago I started mentioning the idea to a few people and there was enough enthusiasm to encourage us to pursue it. It’s been really interesting to hear of the other similar projects (for writers or for architects, for example) going on around town.

    We’d love to hear anyone’s thoughts on how a space like this might work. I didn’t even think about it (sorry, Jim) but I could see how this could really work for realtors (who pays for all those big Real Estate III offices I see around town?) – as long as you had some nice conference space for client meetings – and sharing a table with a talented web developer could create a lot of new ideas…

    If you are really interested in using a space like this, I would encourage you to leave a comment on the post at cloudbrain.com. We are using that to judge how many people really would want to join.

    Reply
  2. Andy Kaufman December 19, 2008 at 14:16

    Hey Jim, it’s great to see coworking make it’s way to your hood. We have a few great ones in the Bay Area and I’ve always thought that a real estate office would fit perfectly within the concept. Good luck on getting it off the ground, i’m rooting for you.

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  3. fred December 19, 2008 at 14:18

    Here’s a local nonprofit version of shared workspace, in this case for writers. Slightly different in that nobody meets clients, but take a look at their website. Not affiliated w/them, fwiw; came across them on cville blogs. http://www.writerhouse.org

    Reply
  4. Daniel Nairn December 19, 2008 at 17:21

    Great idea. Would seem to be a prefect fit for the downtown mall. I´ve been in the Smartroom above Mudhouse a couple of times. It functions as a conference space, but certainly not a full-service coworking site.

    The blog Cooltown Studios features these kinds of places all the time. Lots of nice pictures.

    Reply
  5. Julie Emery December 19, 2008 at 17:26

    This sounds a lot like the REGUS concept. I’ve used office space there from time to time for years, both in the US and overseas. Use what you need when you need it and only pay on that basis. Perfect!
    I think it’s a great model for real estate!

    Reply

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