OpenSpace Co-Working in Charlottesville

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It’s nearly here. A targeted completion date of July/August to be more specific.

What is Open Space Co-Working?

For starters, it is going to be a place where I (others, too, but I’m really looking forward to this space) will be able to rent time to work in an aesthetically pleasing, architecturally designed professional workspace populated by fellow creative professionals, many of whom I suspect will either be fellow entrepreneurs or telecommuters who live in Charlottesville and work in other parts of the country or world.

For years, the Charlottesville area (really Central Virginia) has been a destination location; I think that OpenSpace fills a void.

Or, from the co-working wiki:

Coworking is cafe-like community/collaboration space for developers, writers and independents.

Or, it’s like this: start with a shared office and add cafe culture. Which is the opposite of most modern cafes. 😉  

Right now, lacking a physical office outside of home, I spend an inordinate amount of time in coffee shops … but coffee shops don’t have quiet spaces to meet with clients as well as talk on the phone or Skype. Take some of the people from coffee shops, provide a cool space with conference rooms, Apple displays, great lighting (and coffee, hopefully) – and the possibilities are pretty exciting.

I’ll have access to all of the above – and more – in OpenSpace.

Speaking to Nikki Haffey about the initial interest from the community –

There has been an overwhelming amount of interest so far…about 75 following us on Twitter in the little time we’ve been live, and comments from local Charlottesville folks implying that we should have a second floor back up plan.

I do want to point out that while the coworking will be a huge part of it, the ability for local Charlottesville companies to use the space for off-site conferences and collaboration is another big selling point. We aim to reach out to companies like SNL, LexusNexis, ScholarOne, UVA, MusicToday, etc. in town to include them in our space.

From their blog –

OpenSpace is interested in making connections with local professionals looking to get out of the house, out of the office, out of their daily commute, and into a fun collaborative, community work environment. OpenSpace will offer various levels of membership options allowing for one-day stop-ins, occasional use, and dedicated space. We’ll also offer plenty of conference room space, complete with A/V and catering options, for those local VA businesses looking for off-site meeting space. We’re also very interested in making connections with national and international coworking spaces who want to participate in the Coworking Visa program or just want general recommendations. Heck, we’ll take them as well!

How does this relate to real estate? In a not-necessarily tangential way.

Recent trends amongst homebuyers are for smaller, smarter, better, more urban (read: walk/bikeable) homespaces. Sometimes, this homespace has an office, sometimes not … for those who choose to relocate to the Charlottesville area and keep their existing jobs, OpenSpace may provide a perfect solution – a professional workspace for those who need “out of the house” time but who want to keep their home offices.

Personally, I’m psyched. Perhaps the best part? I’ll be working side-by-side with different people everyday … people who aren’t Realtors (and that’s called “doing business” in my book – the more people I meet the more chances I’ll do business with them).

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