Entrepreneurs with product companies can take back their garages.
The co-working trend has taken off in Miami and globally, particularly among technology entrepreneurs, as self-employment has been increasing and more people seek alternatives to the cost of a private office or the loneliness of working from home. In a sense, these shared office spaces have become community centers for entrepreneurs, inspiring collaboration. But businesses with physical products and art entrepreneurs have additional challenges.
Todd Oretsky, who co-founded the co-working company Pipeline Workspaces with Philippe Houdard, has seen many small businesses that need to receive, store and ship products without efficient ways to do that. They could pay for an expensive third-party service to do the shipping, rent space in a lonely warehouse and have to hire part-time help, maintain a public storage unit in addition to workspace and appeal to friends for some heavy lifting, or even use their own garage, most likely violating residential zoning laws.
Oretsky thought: Why not combine appealing co-working areas with storage space as well as shared shipping and logistics support? Small-business people as well as artists could then work, store and ship from the same location. Like Pipeline is known for in its Brickell location, which opened in 2012, it will be stylish — in this case with a modern industrial look but with windows opening to the street.
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Pipeline’s newest project will be called Pipeline Co-warehousing and Creative Studios, and it will be built in the Little River area of Miami, Oretsky said last week. Oretsky, a serial entrepreneur and investor, plans to close on the property on Northeast 69th Street and Northeast Second Avenue this week, and the project is now in the planning and design phase.
Here’s the vision: There will be places to work, collaborate with others and hold meetings, similar to what more traditional co-working spaces offer. But there will also be places for small business people and artists to store their products and creations, receive pallets and hire shared logistics services and heavy lifters as needed, all on site. For artists, there will be gallery space to display their creations, and event space for all to use. An artisan coffee roaster on the ground floor and an organic rooftop garden will also serve as a communal meeting places.
“There’s a real need for this — I’ve experienced it myself — and there is not another place like this in Miami,” said Oretsky, who sought input from the small business and creative communities.
Pipeline, which is also opening co-working centers in Coral Gables and Philadelphia and has other locations in the works, calls the concept for Little River “creative coupling” of artists, traditional entrepreneurs and tech entrepreneurs. “You want to be in a creative atmosphere and get the juices flowing,” Oretsky said. “When you integrate people of all different backgrounds and build a space that is extremely innovative to do this, that is how you unlock ideas. You can’t work in silos.”
The economics make sense too, Oretsky said. Little River in northeast Miami, with easy access to I-95 and the airport, has seen increasing interest from artists and small businesses who have been pushed out of Wynwood and other neighborhoods because of rising rents. With the lower land prices, Pipeline can build a custom center to suit the neighborhood and need and not be constrained by retrofitting an existing building. For example, it will have appropriate ventilation systems and different temperature areas that artists need, as well as lighting systems appropriate for photographers, Oretsky said.
All together, Pipeline envisions an 80,000-square-foot space. It’s too early for a timeline, but Oretsky hopes to begin building next year.
“We are still looking for more input from the community,” Oretsky said, adding that people can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. “This could really dramatically change the area and change the discourse of entrepreneurship, and it can work in a lot of different areas. It’s an innovative use of space and zoning laws.”
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