While still under construction, Kansas City’s soon-to-be largest coworking studio made its public debut with the visit of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.
A Democrat from De Soto, Mo., Nixon on Tuesday toured North Kansas City-based iWerx, a massive 33,000-square-feet coworking studio that plans to be open for business in September. iWerx also will house a business incubator that hopes to foster entrepreneurial vibrancy in North Kansas City.
While his visit focused on Clay County’s recently-earned “Work Ready Community” certification, Gov. Nixon thanked North Kansas City leaders and iWerx for their hard work to improve the Missouri economy.
“This is what we’re trying to do — economic development -wise — with our state,” Nixon said to a crowd of about 100 people at iWerx. “Not just incubators, but the second stage and where you go when you’ve got income coming in to accelerate.”
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 space — located at 1501 Burlington St. — will feature 33,000-square-feet of coworking, 38 dedicated offices, as well as a 4,000-square-foot event pavilion.
In addition to offering an incubator program, iWerx 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 said that his facility already has received considerable interest and support from North Kansas City.
“I’ve been totally shocked — the community has been there since the day this vision started and before we even started tearing walls out,” he said. “We’re probably a third full right now. It blows my mind. Obviously, they’re not looking at what the facility is — they’re looking at the collaboration aspect of it. The 10 gigabit (internet) is also huge.”
A lifelong “Northlander,” Miller said that he was thrilled to have the governor visit iWerx.
“This is a special treat,” Miller said of the governor’s visit to iWerx. “For him to walk in and see the vision and passion we have for this is outstanding.”
Miller said that construction of iWerx should be complete before the end of August, allowing the facility to be operational in September.
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.