Local boys make good (place)


Sometimes it seems as though nobody goes to the office anymore. More people are working from home, which has some obvious advantages: no commute, no dress code, no nosy or noisy office mates.

But what happens when you need to meet with someone and your home office is only built for one? Or what if it turns out you work better with other people around?

Until recently, about the only escape for the home-bound solo practitioner was a coffee shop. But now there’s another option: co-working.

With co-working, a group of people share a workspace and amenities. There may also be opportunities for networking, socializing and professional development.

Starting Jan. 4, St. Anthony Park will be home to a new co-working venture called the 3rd Place. It’s the brainchild of three friends who grew up in the neighborhood – Zack Steven, Josh Becerra and Colin Hirdman – and who wanted to provide an opportunity for other entrepreneurs and independent professionals to share space.

Steven helped launch a co-working group at Crema Cafe in Minneapolis that currently has 18 members. They have exclusive use of the facility from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, when the cafe is otherwise closed.

The 3rd Place will be open Monday through Friday. Memberships range from one day a week to full-time. Full-time memberships can be shared within a family.

The facility will be located at 2190 Como Ave., a building owned by real estate agent Steve Townley. Plans call for a bathroom, kitchenette, lounge, conference room and co-working space.

To encourage connectivity, members will be invited to use the space on the same day as other like-minded professionals. For example, Tuesday is designated for nonprofits, artists and social entrepreneurs; Wednesday for social media, PR and marketing; Thursday for technology and business.

Townley said that Steven, Becerra and Hirdman approached him at the suggestion of Jon Schumacher, executive director of the St. Anthony Community Foundation. Schumacher knew that Townley had some space for rent in the building where his real estate office is located.

“This seemed like a natural location for what they have in mind,” Townley said. “For those who work at home, there’s often a point at which you need some contact with other people, and this will provide that.”

Schumacher said the foundation is interested in getting groups together that have a lot in common but don’t regularly talk to each other, adding that the 3rd Place would facilitate that.

“The kinds of conversations I imagine taking place there would not only help individuals but also the community,” he said.

St. Anthony Park resident Gary Leatherman said he’s excited about the prospect of having a co-working location closer to home. Leatherman, an independent multimedia producer, has been using the Crema Cafe space in Minneapolis since November.

“My experience at Crema has been very positive,” he said. “Sometimes you feel pretty isolated working alone. It’s nice to have a place to meet people who are in the same boat.”

The 3rd Place will host an open house at 2190 Como Ave. on Dec. 29 from 2 to 7 p.m. For more information about the 3rd Place, visit the3rdplace.ning.com.