Hey, Can’t We Just Work Together?


Dan Miller talks about repurposing vacant buildings as creative working places for entrepreneurs and free agents.

I love the idea of “repurposing” content, used materials and products. Think about the pulverized tires that now provide a soft playground area, the plastic bottles that are now picnic tables, the discarded glass that is now an attractive countertop, or the trash paper that is converted into beautiful necklaces and bracelets.

As I see more and more vacant buildings around town I keep thinking about how that space could be repurposed into creative working places for all the new entrepreneurs and free agents.

Several years ago Calvin Lehew looked at what others had seen as an old eye-sore for years here in Franklin, TN. The old Jamison Bedding Company had been vacant for many years and was a dilapidated compilation of buildings, chimneys and loading docks. Today it’s a beautiful 12-building dining, retail and entertainment complex called The Factory and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Think about the hundreds of vacant or underutilized buildings around your town – the buildings that are no longer being used effectively for their original use:

• Libraries – many are being closed, but are wonderful layouts for co-working spaces.

• K-Marts – just one example of large warehouses that could be repurposed.

• Churches – many little country churches are simply closing the doors. What a wonderful opportunity to house “kings” as opposed to being reserved for only “priests.”

• Bookstores – as you know, many of these are closing. What if they created small work areas and charged a monthly fee?

What other buildings can you think of that could be repurposed for co-working spaces, or a business incubator, or innovation center?

How would you organize it for your own use and business profit?

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