6. What advice you would want to give someone considering a similar project?
The $150,000 we spent was not required. You can work with what you’ve got. However the more attractive you want it to be, the more marketable you want it to be, the more money you need to put into it.
It’s very, very contextual. Once you experience a space and learn about the context, that really is the direction that you go. For the most part, it’s not really there to be a revenue driver. It’s there to be a neighborhood connector. That gives you a different perspective.
I would recommend operators to connect with a church. Talk with them about how you can partner to create a sustainable financial model; it’s an attractive solution for both sides.
It’s not just churches. It can also be municipal buildings or any underutilized public space that is air conditioned, paid for, has coffee, Wi-Fi, tables, and chairs. Coworking can animate the space and bring it to life.
7. In retrospect, what would you do differently?
I would have checked zoning with two or three other people instead of taking that first opinion for granted.
I don’t think that I recognized the enormity of the challenge and cultural and generational change the church was facing. The 30-year-old pastor staff was facing a tremendous amount of pushback from the congregants.
It was a time of tremendous upheaval, fear and change. Folks felt very unclear about the future of the church. They thought we were taking over and they would no longer have access to the basement that they weren’t using. We started inviting them to share our lunches with us and they began having casserole wars.
We won over a lot of hearts.
8. What are you most proud of?
I think what I’m most proud of is when folks who were trying to figure out what to do with a dying church and an unused space would come through. They would just get it. They’d say “Oh my gosh! This is what we should all be doing.”
Churches like to say that they do community outreach types of things, but when they see it really happening, it really hits home with them. They ask themselves “What are we not doing that’s not creating this vibe, this openness, and this welcome-ness?”
People would come through and say, “You know, this neighborhood just really needed a place to get together, connect, get to know one another, and just support each other.”
|Location||9125 Diceman Drive
Dallas, Texas, TX 75218
The Latest News
|Original Structure||White Rock United Methodist Church|
|Square footage||14,000 coworking space
60,000 overall space
|Members||Approximately 50 plus 20 member professional dance company|
|Planning & Construction||3 years|
|Opening date||Spring 2015|
|Approximate Budget||$150,000 coworking space
$ 80,000 commercial kitchen
|General contractor||Integral Windows and Doors|