Lee’s Summit is set to receive a large, new coworking space to serve as the city’s entrepreneurial hub.
The founder of Community Buying Group, Ben Rao said he will soon close on purchasing the old Lee’s Summit Post Office to convert it into a 13,000 square-foot coworking space named Cowork Lee’s Summit. Without any nearby coworking options, Rao said he’s thrilled to create a destination for Lee’s Summit entrepreneurs to convene.
“I’m really excited about building out this space,” Rao said. “It’s going to be great for eastern Jackson County.”
Rao said the building — built in 1962 — has a tremendous opportunity. Eventually, the space will feature 30 private offices, about 5,000 square feet common space a coffee shop and a 2,000 square-foot event space. Eventually, Rao said Cowork Lee’s Summit will provide educational programming for entrepreneurs to learn and grow their businesses.
While yet to begin on refurbishing the building, Rao has ambitious plans for its design. In addition to a cafe and deli, the building will feature several sustainable design elements, including LED lighting, a green roof and an array of solar panels that should power about 70 percent of the space, Rao said.
“I’ve always had a passion for beautification and rehabbing spaces,” Rao said. “With this project, both worlds collide.”
Rao is currently seeking property tax abatements to help offset costs of the project, which should be nearly $1.7 million, the Lee’s Summit Journal reported.
Rao said he’s optimistic that the space will help elevate Lee’s Summit. He said that as of now, Lee’s Summit entrepreneurs are often forced to either work from their homes or travel to downtown Kansas City. Now, they’ll be able to create a community together.
“I had always wanted to do some sort of shared space or coworking studio to bring up Lee’s Summit,” Rao said. “There’s so much going on in Lee’s Summit. … Here, you’ll be a part of a community that’s walkable and in a downtown business district.”
Rao said he hopes to have the space open for a tour in June and available for rent in the fall.