January 15, 2014
Ideaspace is not just a co-working space. Ideaspace is not just a maker lab. Nor is it just a classroom or an event space. It is 16,000 square feet of collaborative possibilities. There’s nothing quite like it in the country, and it’s setting up in one of the most transformative neighborhoods in DC.
On Monday I had an opportunity to meet the founders and take a tour of the building that is morphing into Ideaspace. It is housed in the Boilermaker, a historic factory building that manufactured boilers for Navy ships. Situated less than two blocks from the Navy Yard Metro and Nationals Park, it sits in a neighborhood in the midst of transition. New condos, businesses, and even DC’s newest brewery Bluejacket have all sprouted up amongst the historical buildings, many of which are also being transformed into modern spaces while maintaining an old industrial feel. The architecture of the Boilermaker naturally lends itself to inspiration and productivity.
The concept of Ideaspace was developed by Dave Naffis, Chris Selmer, and Yoshi Maisami, three tech entrepreneurs and self-proclaimed geeks. Several years ago, they started the web consulting company Intridea–their clients include Amazon, JP Morgan, and Cato Institute. They wanted to develop something that allowed people from all disciplines and backgrounds to come together and work on projects both separately and collaboratively. While they appreciate the purpose that traditional co-working spaces serve, they wanted to create something more.
The multi-level space will serve many purposes. Downstairs will be home to a reception area, storage, project garages (to keep your plans top secret), and an outdoor patio, but upstairs is where it really goes down. The majority of the expansive, naturally lit, open floor plan will be multi-functional and modular. Co-working spaces will easily be transformed into classrooms and event spaces.
Along one side, rooms will be sectioned off for use as conference rooms, soundproof phone booths for private phone calls, and even and A/V recording studio (to make that all important intro video to your Kickstarter campaign). Approximately 1/3 of the space will be dedicated to labs such as a wet lab, wood-working, painting, and a couple industrial sized 3D printers. The space isn’t even completed yet, and there are already plans to expand to a nearby building.
Ideaspace will also host events, classes, lectures, and trainings on a variety of topics, many focused around what their members would like to see and learn. Speaking of membership, it’s currently $99 per month for the first year to get in on all of these great features. And it’s not just limited to tech people. The whole purpose of Ideaspace is to bring people from different disciplines together to learn from each other and create. There could be opportunities for fashion designers to collaborate with physicists, or software engineers working side by side with geneticists. There’s massive potential for creating and problem solving on so many levels.
There is also an investment opportunity in Ideaspace. The more support they receive, the more they can do to expand and grow.
Ideaspace is slated for a mid-spring launch. Stay tuned for updates.
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