BizBeat: A business Christmas wish list

Last year, Jefferson City’s entrepreneurs wanted a bike-sharing program for Christmas.

This summer, they got it.

Leaders of local business groups said, this year, they want shopping options downtown, coworking options and restaurants around Capital City High School.

Downtown: Office store and co-working space

Dawn Drinkard, Downtown Association vice president, served as the director of the Missouri Division of Workforce Development under Gov. Matt Blunt, worked for the Missouri Community College Association and now works as a higher education consultant. Drinkard spends much of her time downtown because she also owns Spectator’s Bar & Grill with her husband, Scott.

Thousands of state workers, legislators and lobbyists work in offices downtown near the Missouri State Capitol while the Missouri General Assembly is in session. The downtown area lacks open temporary office suites for state, federal and Capitol workers, Drinkard said.

Capitol workers also need a place to get office supplies without running to Staples, Target or Walmart on Missouri Boulevard, Drinkard said.

“There’s nothing downtown for the state offices or the federal offices,” she said. “So definitely an office supply store would be greatly appreciated.”

East Side: Entertainment options

East Side Business Association President Hank Stratman wants wants entertainment options for East Side residents.

Earlier this month, the Jefferson City Planning and Zoning Commission recommended approval of a plan to turn the 87,000-square-foot International Shoe Company building at 1101 E. Capitol Ave. into a mixed-use development with loft apartments, restaurants, mini golf and event space.

Stratman has high hopes the project will come to fruition.

“We don’t have anything like that here,” he said. “There’s not much to do on the East Side. So that seems to be what we’re looking for.”

In August, the Missouri Office of Administration transferred land on the nearby historic Missouri State Penitentiary property to the city. The city expects to issue requests for qualification in January and hopes to issue requests for redevelopment proposals for the property in the spring.

The city will be asking developers whether a conference center could be built on the site. Hotels, offices and restaurants could also be built on the site.

The East Side Business Association president said the MSP project could serve as a major economic engine for the East Side, but it’s still too early to tell what projects will best fit there.

“We’ll just see where it goes,” Stratman said. “We’re real excited about the future.”

Entrepreneurs: Startup Weekend

In January, local entrepreneurs Sarah Bohl and Missy Creed plan to open a coworking space at 619 E. Capitol Ave.

Stratman said the co-working space could become a gathering spot on the East Side and become the center of Jefferson City’s budding entrepreneurial community.

Bohl wants Stratman to be right.

Next year, Bohl wants Startup Weekend to come to town. The frenetic 54-hour competitions challenge entrepreneurs to create and launch businesses over the course of just one weekend.

“We’re going to hopefully, if everything works out, hold it at the coworking space,” Bohl said.

West Side: Capital Mall and Capital City High School development

In 2012, Farmer Holding Company purchased the Capital Mall and began plans to renovate the aging mall. Next year, the West Side Business Association wants to see new restaurants open up in the area around the mall.

“There has been a large investment of both time and money to keep that property relevant,” said Jeff DeLong, West Side Business Association vice president, in an email. “We would like to continue seeing that investment supported by our community and businesses looking to open up on our West Side.”

Earlier, DeLong told the News Tribune the area around the new Capital City High School is one of the fastest growing parts of Jefferson City, which will create future opportunities for development after it opens next fall.

“That is the focal point of the west side right now, but until that area gets developed and finished out, we’re really not sure what’s going to happen over there” DeLong said.

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