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Co-working space project advances in Fredericksburg

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Fredericksburg’s first co-working space, which has been in the works for about a year now, got a shot in the arm Monday from the city’s Economic Development Authority.

The Fredericksburg EDA pledged $65,000 toward the creation of a co-working office space downtown after a presentation at its meeting by Matt Armstrong, president of the FredXchange nonprofit group that is working on the co-working initiative.

The initiative would create and open office space that entrepreneurs, startups and small companies could use to work collaboratively to grow their individual firms.

“The EDA saw it as a great project to bring younger, entrepreneurial-focused, energetic people downtown,” said Assistant Director for Economic Development Bill Freehling.

The EDA’s pledge significantly advances the project, which needs about $200,000 to run its first year of operations. Armstrong called the grant “a critical win” for the project, which he said is vital to creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Fredericksburg.

Armstrong said FredXchange has narrowed down the list of possible properties to a few spaces.

A downtown Fredericksburg location has “the right vibe,” he said and would allow participants to walk to work and be close to coffee shops, restaurants, parks, the train station and other amenities.

He also hopes it will help create local jobs so residents don’t have to commute to Washington for work. And for those who commute but can work from home sometimes, it offers a place other than a coffee shop to conduct business.

The group hopes to open the co-working space later this year. When it opens, Armstrong wants the office to be half spoken for. That would mean 30–50 individual users in the space.

Entrepreneurs would pay membership dues to access the co-working space, which would offer affordable meeting rooms, Internet connections and other office amenities.

“We want to offer a place for a critical mass of entrepreneurs rising together every day,” Armstrong said. “It would provide a platform for community engagement for participants.”

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976

lestes@freelancestar.com

 

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