|Framework Opens Its Door On North Street in Pittsfield|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
08:03PM / Thursday, October 12, 2017
|Mayor Linda Tyer toured the new business on Thursday, praising the concept.|
Tim Burke and Scott Moraes teamed up on the project, which had a soft opening two weeks ago. The business is now open and offers day passes for those who just want to try it out.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Framework is now open.
On Thursday, Mayor Linda Tyer and staff from the Community Development office took a tour of the new co-working space on North Street.
"We've got to have a lot of diversity in our economy if we are going to have a stable community. This is another example of a small-scale, economic development engine for that individual who may be starting up with an idea, who wants to come downtown where there is a little bit of a vibe, and network with others. This provides that," Tyer said.
Owners Tim Burke and Scott Moraes specifically chose the spot on North Street to tie in with energy from existing businesses there such as Dottie's, Methuselah, Mission.
"We are proponents of new urbanism. The idea of thinking about an energetic hub of activity, where actual people are. We believe being in this exact location across from Dotties Coffee shop, the same block as Methuselah and Radiance Yoga, that we'll be able to tap into a place where people were already going. That will just add even more benefits for people to come here," Moraes said.
They've built out the former Ferrin Gallery to offer different levels of members - from day passes to private offices to suites. Those members don't have long-term leases but instead pay membership to receive all of the benefits of a traditional office.
Moraes said the space isn't just for start-up companies, but for more established workers or remote workers as well.
"We have people who are not necessarily in that startup incubation phase, which I think co-working spaces people think of them in that sense. They think about them as purely business incubators. We have the possibility and amenities to help someone in that situation but it is also valuable for someone who may simply want an office space away from home, or office space away from their main office space," Moraes said.
They've spent about $100,000 in renovations and furnishing to create various types of offices, conference rooms, a kitchen, and shared space. They'll have a copier and printer, high-speed internet, and video conferencing technology. Small businesses or entrepreneurs can now become members to use all of those amenities.
The concept hits a certain niche of workers who want space and interaction with other businesses. Director of Community Development Deanna Ruffer is particularly interested in the possibilities the space has to help new companies grow.
"Office space is usually a challenge for companies that have started on their dining room table. To be able to have a co-working space, where they have the benefit of a professional space as they're growing, with a much more fluid commitment than a long-term lease might have, is very beneficial," Ruffer said.
Pittsfield's Permitting Coordinator Nate Joyner echoed those sentiments, adding that it adds to the character of the city's downtown.
"A lot of these businesses are starting from the ground up. We're not looking for chains to move downtown so this is exactly the kind of thing that builds the image and energy," Joyner said.
The doors opened just two weeks ago with a soft opening for only members who had already been signed up. Last week, they opened to the public. And on Nov. 9 they'll be having a grand opening event.
"We want to invite people, in general, to simply stop by and say hi. Our doors are open and we are happy to give people tours and for people to see if this works for them," Moraes said.
Burke said there is both a capacity for more membership in the co-working, open areas, as well as a private office available.
"We're up to between 12 and 15 [members]. We have three of our four standard offices leased up," said Burke.
Framework has already made a connection with Lever, something of an entrepreneurial support system, operates Cloud85, a co-working office space, and Maker's Mill, a co-work space for artisans, both on Main Street in North Adams on classes.
It hopes to develop its own entrepreneurial ecosystem in Pittsfield and is looking to have speaking events, lunch and learns, and provide more resources for those companies.