‘Barn’ transformation to feature co-working space

Published: Thursday, February 27, 2014 By: Molly M. Fleming Source: The Journal Record

Should people ask for something, it seems, eventually the Plaza District will receive it.

The district needed a coffee shop, and now The District House will open by April.

In a Popularise poll taken by the Plaza District Association, another of the requested businesses was a shared work space.

Now 180 Residential Group owner and broker Aimee Struble is answering that request by turning the building at 1601 N. Blackwelder Ave., better known as the barn, into The Office. It will include her office, two private rooms, a shared space, and a two-bedroom apartment.

The two-story building was built in 1907 and was purchased by Struble Construction in 2011 for $55,000. Since that time, Struble has been working on other projects around the district.

“We’ve just gone back and forth with what we should do with the building,” she said.

Kristen Vails, executive director of the Plaza District Association, said the project is highly anticipated.

“That was one of the main things people proposed … (a) co-working space,” she said. “I think that it will be successful.”

The 1,500-square-foot first floor of the building will be home to 180 Residential Group, a conference room, two private offices, and a community space for a co-working area. In total, up to 15 people could use the shared space and the conference room at once, if needed. Struble said she would like to lease the co-working spaces by the month, with the two private offices rented per year.

The downstairs will share a coffee bar.

“It will be more of a relaxed area than a regular office space,” she said. “The whole concept is to have a co-working collaboration space for entrepreneurs that don’t want to hang out in Panera (Bread) or Starbucks anymore.”

The 1,450-square-foot second floor will contain a completely renovated two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment. The space, which will be rented out, will utilize the angles of the ceiling seen from outside the building. It will have a separate, back entrance from the offices on the first floor.

“It’s a completely blank palette,” she said. “It will have high-end finishes and some really cool angles.”

She said the plan is to open up parking at the Geraldine Building at 1609 Blackwelder Ave. as well as add spots.

She also plans to create an outdoor patio space, similar to the space at Dunlap Codding in Film Row at 609 W. Sheridan Ave.

Construction on The Office will start soon, and Struble said the project should be complete by July.

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