Coworking space opens downtown | Local News

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Jon Cooney is in his fourth year of running his Driftwood Film Co., but Tuesday marked a change of scenery for Cooney and his company, which specializes in crafting video marketing and other strategies for businesses around Cape Ann and beyond.

That’s when he, as one of the pioneer members, settled into his own new office space at Wheelhouse Cowork. He had been running it out of his Gloucester home.

Wheelhouse opened last week and is already housing 14 entrepreneurs and working professionals in downtown Gloucester. It ells memberships to workers or entrepreneurs interested in securing office space or work stations on a month-by-month basis. 

“There are just a lot of distractions at home,” Cooney said, dutifully working on a project on a laptop in his own secure workspace he has now secured for $380 a month. Cooney was table to leave his work product and equipment in space at the end of a long table, while Wheelhouse founder Nathaniel Cahill secured the space for Cooney and others who have signed on as members. 

“It’s so good to have a dedicated work space,” Cooney said. “There’s a real productive vibe here.”

That’s exactly what Cahill wants to create through Wheelhouse, where Tom O’Grady, also of Gloucester, worked and remained in steady phone communication with his Pro Teck Valuation Services company Tuesday instead of making the drive to and from his home offices in Waltham.

Cahill, 36, had been working as a research consultant leading a team of five people at the Boston-based Adelphi Values LLC when he began to look toward alternatives.

“I loved my job, and I loved my team,” he said Tuesday at Wheelhouse, which enters to Duncan Street and to 189 Main. “But I just couldn’t handle the three-hour (two-way) commute every day,” he said. “Route 1 can just get so soul-sucking sometimes.”

Now, he thinks he’s found a better way for those who can work remotely and skip their commute, and small business owners such as Cooney and O’Grady who want to set up shop in their own space away from the madding crowds and traffic jams. 

Cahill has renovated the 2,800-square-foot business space into what can serve as a conference room accommodating up to 12 people, and various-sized work spaces that could serve as many as 30 people at a clip. Those looking to use the space, meanwhile, can carve out regular or temporary space on a monthly basis by signing on as members beginning at $295 a month. The facility debuted with a grand opening hosted by the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce last Friday night. 

“Right now is just where I wanted to be at this point,” Cahill said of the 14 members to date, adding that he wants to be sure he doesn’t overcrowd the spaces.

“This gives me a chance to keep an eye on the space, to make sure it doesn’t get uncomfortable, and to be sure it is the kind of productive space these people want and need.

“This way people can come in and work — without worrying about the cat, the dog, the laundry or the kids,” he said with a smile. “It’s good space and it will bring more people downtown. I think it’s what a lot of us need.”

Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or rlamont@gloucestertimnes.com.



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