A former textile mill near the Downtown Mall soon will be the location of an innovative hub where people from different backgrounds and industries can work in the same space.
Studio IX is a coworking venture opening in November that will provide offices and meeting rooms for startup businesses, freelancers and anyone needing a designated workspace.
“We are passionate about helping the whole community have a place to come together and gain from shared networks and skill sets,” said James Barton, cofounder of Studio IX.
Barton and his wife, Natalie, said they founded Studio IX because they wanted to have a place where organizations and people from all over the community can come together and collaborate.
Studio IX is one of many tenants in the 17-acre IX Project complex that’s the former home of the Frank Ix & Sons textile factory.
With the space now influenced by today’s technology, the renovated design will incorporate local products for furniture and materials to honor the site’s history.
“The way we work now is digital and creative for the most part,” Barton said, “so we are taking a space that was really relevant to this community and continuing that legacy.”
Studio IX will feature a café lounge, member offices, meeting spaces, dedicated desks and flex desks for short-term users.
It also will feature a small central courtyard, providing fresh air, a calm setting and plenty of natural light.
The coworking space provides low-commitment options for those who are just visiting Charlottesville for a week of business or consultants who come in and are working with a local company that may not have enough space for them. There are also small longer-term offices that don’t require a year or two-year lease like many offices, and those are already full prior to opening day, which pleased the Bartons.
“We are pricing it to fit,” Barton said. “We want small businesses and freelancers to be able to afford to be in here. The point is to keep the overhead down by sharing resources.”
With the creative industry on the rise, the Bartons said they felt Charlottesville needed to have a space like this. Those who find it difficult to focus working out of their home can come here to have a designated workspace for higher productivity and inspiration, they said.
“We hope that it won’t be like a library,” Natalie Barton said. “We really want it to feel alive.”
“It’s all about the people, and coming to work in a space where you can be inspired by other people,” James Barton said. “They call it ‘accelerated serendipity.’”
“It’s when you are working in a space with other people that are on fire about what they’re doing,” he added. “You never know what can happen or who you’ll meet that you can share ideas with.”
New businesses, often unsure of how fast they are going to grow, can rent space at Studio IX instead of having an oversized office with a long-term lease.
“They can grow here by filling up the flex-desks with their added people so they are supported until they feel they are financially stable and large enough to move into their own space,” James Barton said.
The Bartons said they think that when people come to Studio IX and take ownership in the space they are going to bring their friends, who also will want to take advantage of the community of people.
“Not only can Charlottesville use a space like this,” James Barton said, “but it can also use more people who want to dedicate time and effort to cultivating a real culture of collaboration, and supporting the community’s need for a space that’s really generating that accelerated serendipity.”
Renovations for Studio IX are expected to be finished in mid-November. For more information visit: www.studioix.co.