Imagine working inside a physical nest, made of the sticks and debris you’d find in your back yard.
January 15, 2016
Inside Nest Raleigh: A Fayetteville Street Coworking Space Taking Flight in April
The entrepreneurs behind Betabox bring life back to a vacant Raleigh building in the form of creative coworking.
It might sound a bit nutty, but the entrepreneurs behind Nest Raleigh, a new coworking space opening in April on Fayetteville Street are true to their concept. In addition to concrete floors, skylight-lit ceilings, exposed brick walls, painted murals and modern new furniture and technology will be a conference room-turned-nest in the center of their newest venture.
Founders Sean Newman Maroni and Michael Hobgood, CEO and chief design officer respectively, of the Raleigh education tech startups Betabox and Betaversity, fell into the opportunity to add real estate entrepreneur to their skill sets late last year. When they considered places for their growing company to expand, they met Bobby Lewis of Raleigh Development Company and learned of the vacant building he’d recently renovated on Fayetteville Street. They were mostly familiar with its street-level tenant, cocktail bar Common 414.
Within about 8,500 square feet of space on two floors will be 12 suites of various sizes, room for anywhere from three to 12 desks each with some unique feature (a window or quiet area or art piece). There will be 2,000 square feet for coworking desks and a kitchen and bar, as well as conference rooms, each named after a bird. Instead of “phonebooths” for making calls, there will be “sales rooms” with places to sit down and do a software demo with a computer. The men are open to other ideas as they finalize plans for the space.
The Betabox team will move from HQ Raleigh into the space—they’ll continue to manufacture and store their Betaboxes at the Raleigh Arts Collective. Maroni will handle leasing and operations and he’s traded an office space in return for community management, marketing and event help from Tim Rosenberg of the design firm Quillor.
According to Maroni, the only real criteria for additional tenants is a love of downtown Raleigh. He’s open to people building scalable startups or physical products like Betabox, as well as engineers and designers. He hopes to connect with larger RTP companies that might want to set up a small innovation incubator space in the building for “intrapreneurs.”
Prices for private offices will be similar to HQ Raleigh’s, averaging at around $300 per desk. Co-working rates are still under consideration, Maroni says. The team might consider a pay-as-you-go option or a membership structure, or some version of the two. More details will be set before a soft launch party February 20 in the space.
Regardless of the pricing, Maroni says he’s not in it to make money. Betabox and Betaversity remain his focus.
“This is more of a contribution to the mission of Raleigh to be a top five entrepreneurial hub, and to increase the diversity of options,” he says. “It’s a homegrown Raleigh space that can be another tool we have and story to talk about and place to do events downtown.”