New Orleans – The Domain Companies has announced plans for a comprehensive coworking development at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC). The space, set to open in early Summer 2017, will target technology, arts, and cultural-based businesses and serve as a hub of entrepreneurship in the developing Downtown innovation corridor. All of The Shop’s amenities have been designed to offer small businesses, entrepreneurs, and arts-based professionals the resources they need to grow. Beginning in August 2017, The Idea Village will move its operations to The Shop.
“Coworking spaces strengthen the economy and promote job and business growth. We’re thrilled to introduce a coworking space for creative professionals to Downtown New Orleans, and there is no better place to do it than the CAC,” said Matt Schwartz, The Domain Companies Principal. “We envision The Shop as a vibrant community of individuals and small businesses connecting with one another and New Orleans. The Idea Village is the perfect partner in creating a new innovation corridor, an impactful organization successfully supporting entrepreneurship, connectivity, and culture in New Orleans.”
“We are proud to join The Domain Companies in this endeavor that, we trust, will become a model for the creative reuse of facilities like ours in communities throughout the country, and indeed, the world,” said Neil A. Barclay, CAC Director and CEO. “Since its inception by a passionate group of New Orleans visual and performing artists in 1976, the CAC has remained a place for the creative community to coalesce around the central role of the arts in the development of economically vibrant urban centers.”
In addition to relocating its offices to The Shop, The Idea Village will move the campus for New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), presented by IBERIABANK, to the CAC in March 2017. A weeklong annual festival celebrating innovation, entrepreneurship, and new thinking in New Orleans, NOEW engages a dynamic network of entrepreneurs, investors, corporations, nonprofits, students, and professionals to support growing companies, spark conversations, and applaud the local entrepreneurial spirit. The 9th annual festival is scheduled from March 19 to March 24, 2017, and will be produced in partnership with Solomon Group.
“The Idea Village has always been dedicated to fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, building strong companies and entrepreneurial leaders, and convening a network of forward-thinking partner organizations,” said Emily Madero, The Idea Village Acting CEO. “Our work has paid off tremendously in the form of a flourishing entrepreneur ecosystem. Now, we are eager to partner with The Domain Companies and the CAC to place the first building block in an innovation corridor that will be critical to the future success of New Orleans as a thriving 21st century city.”
NOEW will utilize multiple spaces at the CAC to create a campus where The Idea Village and its partner organizations can convene for keynote presentations, panel discussions, and pitch competitions as part of the annual event. Holding NOEW at the site of its new office will also provide The Idea Village with a platform that is available for year-round collaboration with its partners.
The Shop will become the physical manifestation of the “village” originally conceived by The Idea Village to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the New Orleans community. Throughout the year, The Idea Village will offer a variety of programming and services—including weekly coffee meet-ups, monthly education sessions, bi-monthly evening social events, entrepreneur ecosystem navigation support, and IDEAsessions—to The Shop’s members and the broader entrepreneurial community. The Shop will also provide The Idea Village with an increased ability to convene the entrepreneur ecosystem throughout the year, culminating with NOEW each March.
Domain envisions The Shop serving as the cornerstone of what will become the New Orleans region’s innovation corridor along Camp Street. The location of The Shop at the CAC sits at the nexus of some of the city’s most important cultural institutions, including the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the National WWII Museum, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and more.
The Shop will expand upon successful national coworking models, providing valuable business and cultural programming and services to tenants in addition to the features, amenities, membership packages, and benefits that form the cornerstones of a functional coworking space. The Shop will occupy the third and fourth floors of the CAC, connected by an open architectural staircase and featuring an extensive amenity and commons area, varied meeting and office space, and a roof deck.
Designed by local firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, The Shop will preserve classic Warehouse District architecture while incorporating modern elements. The light-filled space will feature high ceilings with exposed beams, large windows, a contemporary art collection, and a flowing, open floor plan. The new development will honor the historic roots of the building, donated to the Contemporary Arts Center by Sydney J. Besthoff in 1997.
“Through this groundbreaking partnership with The Domain Companies, the CAC realizes this fundamental vision on the occasion of our 40th Anniversary of service to the New Orleans community,” said Barclay. “In concert with, and supported by, The Domain Companies’ planned renovations to create new coworking space, the CAC will launch renovations that will double the size of our first floor exhibition spaces, thereby enhancing our capacity to present world-class exhibitions. We will also transform our iconic warehouse space into a flexible performance and visual arts venue that is suitable for the innovative explorations of the vibrant artists that we are dedicated to presenting.”
“Walda and I could not be more pleased with this announcement,” said Besthoff. “As former owners of the building that was once a K&B warehouse and has now housed the CAC for almost three decades, and as longtime supporters of the Contemporary Arts Center, we are thrilled to see Domain establish a coworking space in the building. This is an ideal use of the third and fourth floors, and we believe this relationship will not only be great for both the CAC and Domain, but for the entire city.”
The heart of The Shop will be the commons area designed to facilitate conversation and connection. It will boast a full kitchen, seating options, coffee station, snacks available for purchase, and communal and recreational space. A staffed front desk and high-speed Wi-Fi will be available to all members. The Shop’s membership options will be offered in four tiers, and allow for streamlined, app-based access to all member benefits.
Memberships packages will include commons, 1-4 person offices, and a limited number of larger format spaces. Commons memberships will allow for commons area access, while 1-4+ person office memberships will provide dedicated office space in addition to commons area access.
All membership packages include private meeting and conference room usage, phone and printer access, and more on an as-needed basis. All working space will be fully-furnished, with different configurations being offered from long communal tables and solitary nooks to meeting and conference rooms fully-equipped with screens, whiteboards, and videoconferencing equipment. Memberships also offer affordable access to a comprehensive benefits platform including health insurance, 401K plans, MyDomain community discounts and reward program, and more.
In addition to The Idea Village, the regional economic development alliance Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) will join The Shop to provide business development prospects a temporary home base for their operations. The space will serve as a transition point for businesses between considering Greater New Orleans and fully committing to a new and growing office in the region.
“We applaud Domain for driving another innovative new development project for the city and region,” said Michael Hecht, GNO, Inc. President and CEO. “The addition of this space directly responds to market demand for large coworking spaces, and demonstrates the continued maturation of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem and growing economy. We look forward to providing companies the opportunity to sample the New Orleans regional market in The Shop’s innovative office environment and make the long-term decision to grow and thrive in Greater New Orleans.”
The Shop and the ensuing innovation corridor will propel The Idea Village’s vision for New Orleans as the entrepreneurship hub of the South by 2018. With its proximity to acclaimed museums and galleries, new developments like the nearby South Market District and Ace Hotel, and some of the best restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, and residences in New Orleans, The Shop is primed to become a catalyst for innovative thinking and strategic partnerships that will continue to transform Downtown into a thriving urban center.
The Domain Companies is developing The Shop to include 40,000sf of coworking space for 350-400 professionals. Those interested in leasing space can visit www.theshopcac.com to learn more and be contacted when leasing begins. The Shop will be ready for occupancy in Summer 2017.