RACINE — Because of a loss of funding, Gateway Technical College’s Launch Box coworking space is just weeks from the end. But a new private coworking space called Atmosphere Creative Space is coming to the Downtown area.
Jessica Omelian is the entrepreneur behind Atmosphere, which she’s working to open at 829 Wisconsin Ave. Omelian, a full-time real estate agent with Shorewest Realtors who will continue in that role, hopes to open Atmosphere in early December.
Atmosphere will be a membership coworking space with around-the-clock access via electronic entry, Omelian said. It will have a collaborative workspace in front and three private conference rooms. It will offer access to office equipment such as printers and scanners, will have business-class Wi-Fi and will also hold regular events and workshops.
Omelian explained the genesis of her project. “For me it was: being newer to Racine and wanting to develop a sense of community and having a place for professionals to connect and to grow their businesses.”
She likes her building’s location being one block from Main Street, a half-block from the Racine County Courthouse and walkable to the restaurants on Sixth Street. She also has five parking spaces behind the building, and the west side of Wisconsin Avenue there is unmetered.
“I just felt like it was the perfect place for people to find us,” Omelian said, “but then also for us to connect with the community around us.”
Feeling of belonging
About her business’ name, Omelian said, “Atmosphere came from a sense of calm and a sense of feeling like you belong in one spot. And I liked that the word ‘here’ was in Atmosphere; I felt like it talked about being present and connecting with the people around you and the community around you.”
Omelian said she thinks her small building will be able to accommodate perhaps 40 to 50 members. Memberships will cost $100 monthly which includes the bookable conference room, $1,000 annually or $25 for a day pass which does not include the use of the conference room.
Meanwhile, Launch Box, as Gateway announced in early August, will close as of Nov. 30.
“With the closure of Gateway’s Launch Box announced for November, the need for local coworking space is anticipated to grow even further as those members seek a new workspace,” stated Business Lending Partners, the lending arm of Racine County Economic Development Corp.
BLP partnered with Johnson Bank to provide the financing which allowed Omelian to buy her one-story, 1920 building that is currently undergoing thorough, DYI renovations, and open her new business.
BLP tapped into the City of Racine’s revolving loan fund for $35,500 in a financing partnership with Johnson Bank. A bank official said working with BLP allowed Johnson Bank to lend to a local business that it would not have been able to, conventionally.