Urbana's downtown [Co][Lab] takes community collaboration to next level
Imagine going to your office everyday and being surrounded by other designers, techies, or young creatives contributing to and spurring on your own work. This is one possible scenario in a coworking space like the one Matt Cho is developing in downtown Urbana. I had the privilege of meeting Matt and getting a sneak peek into the coworking space called [Co][Lab]. The building, which served as Busey Bank’s former executive center, will feature a retail storefront and office space for startups that is expected to open at the end of May. The neighboring building, which has a second floor and basement for additional office and studio workspace, will also house a food collective shared by Pizza M and Flying Machine Coffee.
I was really impressed to see the building and a get a glimpse of Matt's vision. Matt, who grew up in Urbana, has been putting significant time into quickly renovating the building and making it part of the revitalization effort in downtown. Having completed an architecture and urban planning degree in 2011, Matt has a design sense and creative approach that is truly visionary. If there is one thing that I'm most impressed by, it is the fact that Matt has taken this concept and is turning it into reality. He's an idea maker making things happen, hoping to make a difference in the community.
As an entrepreneur working on my own social media startup, I'm passionate about the creative process and seeing collaboration lead to community impact. Co-working spaces are unique in that they allow for individuals and teams from diverse backgrounds to come together and generate creative synergy that can translate into innovation for their companies and as a byproduct, their community. I imagine that [Co][Lab] has the potential to become quite the melting pot of innovation and creativity. I'm excited to see what this space will do to help revitalize downtown Urbana, and I'm sure it will be a really cool looking place to go and hangout even if you don't work there.
I will be one of several to lease space at [Co][Lab] once it opens with the help of the Urbana business incentive. If you are an entrepreneur or startup looking for office space in an innovative venue, I suggest looking into the Urbana Business Incentive that can go towards business development or to help with startup costs at the new [Co][Lab] coworking space in downtown Urbana.
What do you think? Do you think coworking spaces are a good idea and if you had a choice, what kind of environment would you like to work in?