It has been some time since the old CVS building at 1327 Grandin Road has been filled with business. But over the next few weeks people will be coming and going at the old pharmacy as developers wrap up the building’s latest renovation.The former pharmacy will become a co-working space for entrepreneurs and innovators in the region to do business, network and benefit from each other’s experiences and resources.
A lot of details have not been finalized. There is no official name for the hub yet, and parts of the facility are still being constructed. Developer Ed Walker, who has owned the building for the past decade, has collaborated with community leaders and entrepreneurs to develop the historic space.
The building, which opened in 1953, originally housed Garland’s Drug Store. Over the decades, several pharmacies occupied the space: White Cross, Revco and CVS. In 2003, CVS decided not to renew its lease.
After the pharmacy left, the 10,000-square-foot space was subdivided for smaller tenants. A succession of merchants moved into the building including Coda, Village Flowers, JaMar Desserts, Viva La Cupcake and Valley Bank. They have either closed or relocated. Firefli Media has been there for around a year.
Roanoker Brent Cochran has been helping to create the new hub for innovators. He hosted a gathering at the site a week ago and talked about the idea behind the co-working space. Cochran is a co-founder of Community Sourced Capital, a Seattle-based company that procures funding for small businesses. He said it will open an office in the Grandin building.
“Roanoke has needed this space for a long time,” Cochran said. He said the place will be a hub for entrepreneurs to collaborate and share resources. The spot can also host special events featuring speakers on technology or business developments.
Co-working spaces are one of the latest national business trends to try to develop untapped local resources. They have increased across the country in the past few years, including in Southwest Virginia.
The Business Lounge opened in Roanoke in the summer of 2012 as a shared working space for entrepreneurs, freelancers and other like-minded individuals. There are currently plans for it to relocate to the new space on Grandin Road, according to Cochran and lounge founder Sam Steidle. Two more co-working spaces popped up before that in the New River Valley.
The one on Grandin Road has the potential to be the largest of them all. A few work spaces have already been fully constructed. Cochran said the building looks ready to open in early 2014, and more details will be released on the project before then.
Also in the column, Glow-a-Roma owners are planning to sell the Botetourt County business