Innovate Raleigh Opens Up 227 Fayetteville Street, Renovations Underway

227 Fayetteville Street, January 2013

Here is some great news for the core of downtown Raleigh. The former Wachovia bank building at 227 Fayetteville Street, the building shown above, was recently bought up and renovations are underway for 110,000 square feet of office space. On top of that, Innovate Raleigh, Raleigh’s public/private partnership in fostering innovation, hosted an event last night to show off the building and how it will be built for technology companies and new startups.

I went down to the event and found a packed house with the usual players and more in our city’s ever growing startup scene. Jesse Lipson, founder of ShareFile, was showing off the new Citrix offices being planned for West Street. Adam Klein talked about American Underground in Durham. These speakers and others told stories to a crowd of close to 200 about what startups are doing across the entire triangle.

227 Fayetteville Street, January 2013

We’ve discussed coworking space, a real incubator for startups, within downtown Raleigh but 227 is a step up. The people behind this building seem to be really tied into the community and this is a perfect spot to pipeline the rising startups out of the small spaces and into real offices. The Fayetteville Street location provides easy access to all of downtown’s services and is a great location to set up shop.

So on to the building itself and the renderings. Key points to notice in these renderings.

  • There is an emphasis on more natural light with many more windows being added.
  • One rendering suggests street level retail along Fayetteville Street which is something the building did not have previously.
  • The office entrance may be that red square along the side of the building. This may leave the Fayetteville Street facing entrance for a future retail space.
  • The outdoor spaces alongside 227 Fayetteville, Exchange Plaza and Market Plaza, may also be getting a facelift.

Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street
Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street
Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street
Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street
Rendering of 227 Fayetteville Street

HUB Raleigh Contributes To The Evolution of Co-working in Downtown

Office space at HUB Raleigh

Last week, HUB Raleigh had its official grand opening. This co-working space on Hillsborough Street adds to the growing startup scene and Innovate Raleigh initiative that continues to spread around downtown Raleigh. The space is set up for established startups in the area to work from so that they can tap the greater HUB network for future growth. I went to the packed grand opening party and returned the next day for a visit.

We’ve talked about co-working before and while I myself do not work for a startup, the community aspect around a co-working space is a natural fit for downtown. Both sides can benefit from the social aspect at HUB and the close proximity to the services in the downtown districts.

I like to compare co-working to the idea of our “third place.” There’s where you live, (first) where you work, (second) and your regular place to socialize. (third) This is a theme that is very alive and true for downtown regulars. With co-working, the community aspect of a third place is weaved into the work aspect of the second. For most, this creates relationships, personal and business, that really help create new businesses and bring ideas into creation.

Others just want to get out of the house and that’s fine too.

Grand opening party at HUB Raleigh
Grand opening party at HUB Raleigh

HUB Raleigh is slowly trying to create that community between visitors and users. For example, they have a calendar where anyone can post an event from business to social. The Click Cafe is the HUB’s on-site gathering space for breaks over food and drinks. And as community goes, HUB has members that are active in Durham’s startup scene and other places around the triangle. HUB contributes to what is going on in the triangle rather then compete and possibly take away.

I mentioned the HUB network that members are a part of. HUB is part of a 28 location network, mostly with locations in North America and Europe, where members have access to those locations and the community around it. If a startup in Raleigh decides to work in San Francisco, HUB San Francisco is now a place for them to reach to if needed. This network helps startups ease into different areas and HUB Raleigh helps visitors ease into here.

Growing startups like The Vital Plan and Spot Trot are already at HUB Raleigh and they were both active when I visited. It got me thinking about the talk of using incentives for new companies to come to Raleigh. Why not help build your own companies rather then attract new ones?

The Raleigh Forum Hosts Cocktail Shindig, Shows Off Coworking Goods

The Raleigh Forum in Downtown Raleigh
Photo credit: Tyler Helikson

Coworking is a concept that I’ve mentioned before on the blog and downtown Raleigh’s coworking space, The Raleigh Forum, brings it right onto Wilmington Street. With Red Hat moving its world headquarters to Davie Street, coworking is important for the small startup community and open source environment that the grand fedora feeds off of.

From my inbox to your screen, here’s an upcoming event that will allow you to see the coworking setup and mingle with the community.

A Night in Raleighwood

The Raleigh Forum and iContact to host an Academy Award-themed party

WHAT: The Raleigh Forum- a downtown coworking space- and iContact- will host an Oscars-themed cocktail attire party on January 26. Attendees are invited to walk the red carpet, pose in front of the step-and-repeat, vote for the winner of awards categories, and bump elbows with locals during this music-infused awards party.

Beer and wine will be provided at the open bar by The Wine Feed. Appetizers are provided by Gravy, courtesy of Empire Eats. Local singer-songwriter Erik Smallwood will be playing acoustic music throughout the event. 50% of entrance fee proceeds will be donated to Change the Triangle, the Triangle’s young professional volunteer organization.

WHO: The event is open to the public but you must have a ticket to enter. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased

WHERE: 133 1/2 S Wilmington St, Raleigh, NC 27601

WHEN: Thursday, January 26 from 7:30-10:30pm

WHY: This party will showcase The Raleigh Forum’s temporary office space, as well as honor loyal supporters of The Raleigh Forum and advocates for the Raleigh community.

CONTACT: Cristina Roman
PHONE NUMBER: 919-452-6381

Collaborate and Work, Coworking in Downtown Raleigh

I recently attended the last Triangle Tweetup, pictured above, that was held right here in downtown Raleigh at Edge Office. This “tweetup” is a gathering of local individuals that interact on the internet through the service called Twitter. Twitter + meetup = tweetup, get it? Anyway, there were over 100 people at Edge, all with a common interest in socializing and putting faces to the internet avatars that each person has on Twitter. I have been using Twitter for almost a year now and I can say the local community is growing very fast. With this service, I have been able to meet and contact people for information or possibly collaborate on new projects. I also use it just for socializing; my twitter name is DTRaleigh. I recommend anyone that is interested to jump on the service and start interacting with local people (or “tweeple” as some like to say).

I open up this discussion with Twitter because I feel it is the most powerful tool to organize, market, and network with others that have similar interests as you. While Twitter lives and breathes on the internet, all the local users are still working, living, and playing individually around Raleigh. But what if there was a place for this community to collaborate, meetup, and work? What if there was a dedicated space for ANYONE that was interested in working with other people, sharing their ideas, and meeting others that can help them create those ideas? This is a slight introduction to the concept of coworking and a space for this is in talks for downtown Raleigh.

A good friend of mine, Jason DiMambro, has been leading the way on organizing the Raleigh community and is working with Empire Properties to set up a coworking space. At the recent tweetup on January 29th, Ben Steel from Empire gave a short speech about coworking and how Empire is very interested in providing a space for people to work in. Ben was pretty vague but looking at Empire’s track record, you can bet this will be a great looking, renovated space with a lot of character. If you pair this up with some great office furniture then this will be one of the best workspaces in the city.

The use of the space will range from the casual visitor to the dedicated worker. If your work requires you to be at the office then you will probably only visit a few times; to check e-mail after hours or to focus on a project when working from home is to distracting. Also anyone that works for themselves, out of coffee shops, their houses, on the phone or on their laptops, can use the space. Desks and tables will be set up for anyone to use at any time of the day, and night. For me, I can’t use the space for doing work because of my job but I would love to get out of the apartment and focus on the blog as well as the other projects I have in mind. The uses are very fluid and vary between everyone’s situation.

Coworking is a community driven concept where people that work for themselves, whether it is for money or yourself, can interact with others and share ideas. The coworking space will be the focal point of this community and while working on your own project, you can tap your creative side and give feedback to others on their ideas. I’m excited about this concept coming to Raleigh and the creative community will really embrace it.

If you are already on Twitter and would like to follow the progress of this space, follow CoworkRaleigh.

[Update: CoworkRaleigh twitter account has been disabled.]

Citizen Space, a coworking space, in San Francisco. Picture via Flickr: jaygoldman