North Kansas City will soon boast the metro’s largest coworking facility.
The first shared workspace in North Kansas City, iWerx’s massive 33,000-square-feet facility is scheduled to open in July for entrepreneurs hoping to work in a community of innovators. iWerx also will house a business incubator that hopes foster entrepreneurial vibrancy in North Kansas City.
iWerx partner Bob Martin said that the facility will benefit not only North Kansas City but the entire metro.
“It will accelerate an ongoing renaissance in North Kansas City while fueling the entrepreneurial momentum the entire region currently enjoys,” Martin said. “Anything that helps the local entrepreneurial ecosystem helps the region. As iWerx member companies grow and move to facilities and spaces outside iWerx, we hope to create a pipeline of organic economic development.”
Built in 1929, iWerx’s facility previously was the regional headquarters for Kroger Grocers, but has since undergone significant renovation to become a modern facility. The facility — located at 1501 Burlington St. — will feature 33,000-square-feet of coworking, 38 dedicated office spaces, as well as a 4,000-square-foot event pavilion.
The Kansas City metro area features more than 10 coworking studios, but iWerx will be the largest once in operation. Only two area coworking spaces — Think Big Partners and Lenexa-based Plexpod — have more than 20,000 square feet of space. Developers currently are working on what will be the largest coworking studio in the world with the Westport Commons project.
The space will offer access to such services as printers, mentors, business development, free Wi-Fi and more. iWerx also is working with KCFiber, a Kansas City-based internet provider, to offer tenants up to 10-gigabit speeds. iWerx managing partner John Miller says that the speeds will be among the fastest in America.
iWerx partnered with EnCorps45, an organization that promotes social entrepreneurship, to manage day-to-day operation of the facility. EnCorp45 will manage programming and development of the coworking space and create curriculum for the incubator. To enhance the curriculum, Martin said that iWerx is in conversations with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Metropolitan Community Colleges and Mid-America Nazarene.
EnCorps45 executive director Robert L. Curland said that the facility is already garnering interest and that 25 percent of the space is booked.
“This is an incredible opportunity to nurture co-generational entrepreneurs in an array of industries, but certainly with an emphasis on technology and innovation,” Curland said in a release.