Activated Spaces, an initiative to fill downtown storefronts, is launching a new phase of the program called Pop-Up Office. Applications are being accepted for office businesses to open downtown this summmer. The project is mirrored after the successful Pop-Up Project, which traditionally has focused on matching retail and restaurant focused business owners with downtown property owners who have first floor space available for occupancy.
The Activated Spaces team is launching this new initiative to attract start-ups and other small businesses that will add energy and vibrancy to downtown office buildings. The project launched Catapult Creative as a pilot office tenant in 2014 to test out the viability of a pop-up office space. After seeing the success of this business, the team is excited to expand into a selection round strictly geared towards office space seekers.
“This is something we’ve been looking at for a couple years,” said Pop-Up Project leader, Elise Huelskamp. “As the project continued to be a success, we wanted to see what we could tackle next in order to grow and develop the program, and we felt we could apply it to the concept of short-term office space leasing.”
Attracted to competitive lease rates and the combination of authenticity, walkability, connectivity, and community only available in the center city, more and more entrepreneurs and small business owners are choosing a downtown address. Since 2010, more than 90 start-ups have launched in the downtown core and the number of small businesses is steadily growing. The Pop-up Office Project seeks to build on this momentum.
Unique to this phase of the program, the spaces will not be located on the first floor but rather an upper floor of a downtown building. The spaces will be clustered near each other, giving the business owners an opportunity to collaborate. Lease lengths will range from three to six months. The spaces may have varying lease rates, but will be leased below market value. The Downtown Dayton Partnership will connect businesses with commercial property owners. The Activated Spaces volunteers help make the space move-in ready and help promote the business. Selected businesses will negotiate leasing terms directly with the selected property owner, but flexibility for the tenant is a priority.
Interested office space seekers should fill out an application, which can be downloaded at www.activatedspaces.org, and email it to Jen Cadieux. The application deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, July 17. Tenants will be selected the week of July 31, and must be able to operate in their space no later than the end of August.
The project will also continue a retail program, and plans to launch another call for retail applicants in the coming months for a fall opening. Activated Spaces volunteers hope to build on the success of the Pop-Up Project, which has launched shops such as Sew Dayton, Confetti, and most recently Twist Cupcakery. Since it was started, the project has launched 18 shops (13 of which are still open), filled over 16,000 square feet of previously vacant space and created 31 jobs.
The Pop-Up Project is driven by volunteers from the young professional organizations UpDayton and Generation Dayton with support from the Downtown Dayton Partnership, the City of Dayton, the City of Dayton Neighborhood Mini-Grant program, and community volunteers. Activated Spaces is part of the Greater Downtown Dayton Plan, a strategic blueprint for the future of downtown.