cowork cleveland launches in former ohio city firehouse

To tap into demand for affordable yet professional office space from local start-up businesses, two entrepreneurs have kicked off 2012 by opening a new shared workspace, Cowork CLE, in a decommissioned Ohio City firehouse.

“Meeting clients at Starbucks can get old; we offer a more professional setting,” says Emmett McDermott, who has partnered with Graham Veysey of North Water Partners, a video production company, to launch the 1,000-square-foot space on W. 29th Street. McDermott also owns 12five9, a web development firm.

Their pitch goes something like this: Are you a solo entrepreneur? Are you tired of working from home or fighting for an outlet at your local coffeehouse? Renting a desk at Cowork CLE can be as little as $250 per month. There's an airy, light-filled room with refinished hardwood floors, high-speed wireless, live Twitter feed on a flat-screen TV, conference room and even a private phone booth.

McDermott and Veysey visited similar coworking spaces in other cities, including Chicago, before they decided to launch Cowork CLE. “This is something that’s become popular in bigger cities,” says McDermott. “We chose Ohio City because it is an artisan neighborhood. We believe our clients are creative, independent artisans who are yearning for a collaborative environment."

The owners of Cowork CLE hope that the space will function as a kind of entrepreneurial incubator. By developing relationships in a shared work environment, their customers will be able to share useful information, help each other grow and eventually even refer business to one another, they say.

“We’re hoping people will make connections,” says McDermott.

Veysey, who owns the firehouse building, has also leased space to Rising Star Coffee Roasters, which will open Cleveland’s first “brewbar.” Rising Star will offer bags of beans for sale and also brew coffee by the cup. This will offer entrepreneurs here the best of both worlds -- a functional work environment and a downstairs coffee shop where they can easily get their caffeine fix.

Cowork CLE is located at 1455 W. 29th Street.

Sources: Emmett McDermott, Graham Veysey
Writer: Lee Chilcote

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