AVILLA — Telecommuting is becoming the future of work in the United States, and as remote workers grow, they need space to work.
Cities across the country are starting to open coworking spaces to give remote workers and entrepreneurs a quiet environment to socialize with others and access resources like video conferencing rooms.
The idea of building a coworking space and an incubator was discussed at a meeting of the Avila Redevelopment Commission on Thursday.
Mayor Tena Woenker and Noble County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Gary Gatman bought the property from a board member and local surveyor, Josh Lash, and turned his building into an incubator and shared workspace. We discussed the idea of turning it into a
Rush attended the meeting and told members that he was considering selling the building, or if he couldn’t sell it, demolishing it and building a new one.
Woenker and Gatman said the city should consider buying the building from Lash and turning it into a space where remote workers and entrepreneurs can work and share business ideas.
The rush building is very old and in dire need of repair. Woenker said the DRC could use Tax Increased Financing (TIF) funds to purchase properties and cover the cost of building renovations.
“We can turn this place into a startup incubator and the city can get some income from it,” he said at the conference.
She and Gutman said Fort Wayne has a number of coworking spaces and incubators that have been successful, and they hope to do the same across Avila and Noble County.
He described how he met some people in Ávilla who have become remote workers. With a space like this, they would have the space to work outside the home.
Gatman said the space will have Wi-Fi installed and a Zoom room where people can video conference for work.
He hopes to attract new entrepreneurs to the county because the area is struggling to attract people to start new businesses.
Space becomes affordable for people. She said her workspace and incubator charges only about $500 a year in membership fees, whereas renting a building typically costs about $5,000 a month.
“Additional resources will be made available to people, such as working with the Small Business Development Center for guidance or talking to an attorney in town about forming an LLC,” he said.
He added that some of Fort Wayne’s coworking spaces are very popular and have waiting lists for people to join.
The city will first try to find someone to buy the building or start a business and move there. If that doesn’t happen, they continue with their plan to create a workspace.
“Another idea we could do is have workspaces upstairs while we do business downstairs,” he said. It is to let
Committee members expressed their support for the idea and it will be considered in the future.