TechTown Opens a Space for Entrepreneurs to Work

Jan 07

4:45 PM

By Erin Piscopink

Tagged: All Neighborhoods

Read the Free Press article in its original format HERE


TechTown Opens a Space for Entrepreneurs to Work

Frank Witsil for
The Detroit Free Press

TechTown Detroit, a business incubator, is opening a co-working space for entrepreneurs in its newly renovated offices in Midtown.

The new space, named Junction440, is on the first floor of TechTown's historic building at 440 Burroughs St.

The name comes from the address — 440 — as well as its proximity to a railroad spur. Junction, TechTown's President and CEO Leslie Smith said, also is a play on words as a place to bring people and ideas together.

"It really is a cool, hip space," she said.

However on Tuesday — the day of the official opening — the offices were closed on account of freezing temperatures.

"The plan was to to get the news out as soon as the holiday break was over," Smith said, pointing out that the renovations were completed in November. "Unfortunately, old man winter is delaying us by an additional day."

TechTown is expected to be open Wednesday.

Co-working — putting several, small independent companies and professionals under the same roof — has been a concept that has been growing in metro Detroit and nationwide. There are several other co-working spaces in metro Detroit and other Michigan cities.

The trend has been driven largely by technology, enterprising 20-somethings and, in Michigan, workers who started small businesses after being downsized and need places to work at a low cost and with a short-term commitment.

To use the space at Junction440, entrepreneurs buy daily or monthly memberships. A daily membership is $20 or 10 days for $150. Monthly memberships range from $250 to $375, depending on what kind of space is needed.

To create Junction440, TechTown renovated about 20,000 square feet on the first floor of its 1927 Albert Kahn-designed building. It spent about $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Of that amount, half was a grant and the other a loan.

In addition to desks and offices for entrepreneurs, the space also includes space for public events — and a kitchen. Amenities also include: bike racks, fresh-brewed coffee, lockers, wireless Internet access, printing services — and free parking.

So far, Smith said, there are about two dozen members, but there still is room for several dozen more.