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Posted on: July 31, 2017

Co-working space generates interest in River District


A pop-up event this week in the River District generated interest for a co-working space downtown, and owner Lenny Keesee hopes to sign a lease for the old Bobby Carlson studio on Main Street in September.

Between 40 and 45 people visited the pop-up space at 312 Main St. in Danville’s River District, and more than half of them requested sign-up packets by Friday morning.

“Several people told me that September would be better for them to sign leases,” Keesee said from behind the built-in desk in the old photographer’s studio. “That works out fine for us so we can make some changes.”

Co-working spaces are real offices built for entrepreneurs and freelance workers.

Keesee plans to add a full kitchen, move the conference room area downstairs, and add some partitions to the upstairs offices for a slightly more private area.

There is a similar option available in Ringgold through the Dan River Business Development Center, called Southside CoShare.

“I don’t have any problem with competition,” Executive Director Ralph Hogg told the Register & Bee on Friday. “I think there’s a need for that type of service, especially in the River District.”

Southside CoShare offers more support services than River District’s current plans, but does not have the “prime location” that River District Coworking’s downtown office offers. Southside also offers light industrial space for research, development and production of goods.

In addition to the co-working possibilities, Keesee is working on a hybrid membership for photographers to use the studio after business hours and during the weekends. He is also toying with the idea of renting the space out for parties and events. Both groups offer a variety of options for each person’s co-working needs.

“We’re optimistic,” Keesee said Friday morning. “If not here, maybe there’s another place that we need to be in.”

Keesee and Hogg define co-working as the use of a working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers.

“I feel like if he can’t make it successful, nobody will,” Hogg said with confidence. “It’s a necessity for Danville. I wish him well with that.”

Ceillie Simkiss reports for the Danville Register & Bee. Contact her at csimkiss@registerbee.com or (434) 791-7981.

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