Sunday, January 09, 2011

Best of 2010: Saint Louis Coworking

Despite the challenging economy, lots of great things happened over the course of 2010. Major development projects such as the Peabody Opera House, Central Library, Park Pacific, The Laurel, and One City Centre/Sixth Street Garage all began construction this past year and figure to play major roles in downtown's ongoing renaissance upon their completion.

Since these projects have already received a great deal of press in recent months, I'd like to focus on some of the notable developments and business dealings of 2010 that may have flown under the radar a bit.

Let's start with the opening of Saint Louis Coworking in the Shell Building.

Saint Louis Coworking has been a hit with freelancers, startup entrepreneurs and the self employed since opening in August.  Not only does Saint Louis Coworking provide these creative professionals wtih high-quality workspace, it allows for opportunities for socializing and collaboration as well. Weekly pancake breakfasts, parties and other social events hosted by Saint Louis Coworking have allowed the space to develop its own culture, despite the independent nature of its tenants.

More than 40 different people have used the 10,000 sf coworking space since it opened in August. Representative of the type of tenant drawn to the coworking concept is Boom.reactive, a new web development and branding firm led by Shawn Hautly and Jon Becker.  It will be interesting to see if Saint Louis Coworking can develop into a true business incubator for downtown, giving fledgling firms a place to start before they "hatch" and lease space elsewhere - it certainly appears to be well on its way.  Who knows what great ideas will emerge from this type of environment?

Kudos to Mike Tomko and Chris Buehler of Scorch Agency (a Shell Building tenant) and the owners of the Shell Building for bringing the coworking concept to St. Louis!


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