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Collective Turf Coworking Set to Open in Urbana

If you live near Champaign-Urbana, Illinois and have been craving a coworking environment, has good news for you. In just a few days, Collective Turf Coworking will open it doors to the newest coworking facility in the nation.

On April 20, Collective Turf Coworking is making its office space available to freelancers,  entrepreneurs, consultants, virtual employees, telecommuters, and else anyone who is interested in starting a business venture and needs an office to call home-base.

Located in Downtown Urbana, nomadic entrepreneurs and Urbana residents Lucy Cross and Susan Potter are the brains behind Illinois’ latest coworking concept. The duo is building on a foundation they call “working alone, together” to establish a collaborative environment inside a refurbished downtown building that’s easy to access via busy or bike.

Working Alone, Together
“We’ve had days where we bounced from one coffee shop to another or camped out at the public library, just to get out of the home office rut and to be around other people and different energy,” says Susan Potter, co-founder and Technology Architect at Collective Turf.  “Coworking offers a solution to the problem of isolation that many freelancers experience while working at home, while at the same time letting folks escape the distractions of home.”

Collective Turf is pushing its “working alone, together” concept, providing an alternative for at-home professionals and freelancers to work independently while being surrounded by tools, resources and “coworkers.” Collective Turf claims to be the first of its kind in the Champaign-Urbana area. (I couldn’t find any other competitors, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. If you are out there, give us a shout so we can let folks know where to find you.)

“Collective Turf offers a comfortable environment, office technology, secure WiFi connections and an opportunity to exchange ideas and insight with other ‘coworkers’ all while working in a professional, yet fresh space,” Potter says. Such is the promise of coworking, a trend that’s sweeping the nation in a down economy and promises to stick around, and perhaps even grow, when the recession is over.

The Coworking Set Up
Unlike business centers or executive office suites, the Collective Turf Coworking space is geared less toward those who want or need lots of privacy and more to those who want to work around other people. Hence the name coworking. To that end, Collective Turf provides desk space in shared offices to encourage a community atmosphere.

Collective Turf offers space residency by membership. Memberships include a desk with access to a wireless connection, optional locking file cabinet and VoIP, and use of the conference room with digital display, conference-call capabilities, white board, and seating for 10-12 people. Daily and weekly residency available for non-members, as well as hourly conference room rental. The duo isn’t publishing its prices. You’ll have to check in with them to see what it costs for the configuration you want.

“With our current economy, many people have turned to building their own business or are working in a virtual office,” says Lucy Cross, co-founder and Creative Designer of Collective Turf. “Working independently is isolating and many can benefit from the creative synergy that happens when you have a pool of talented and creative folks come together, working within in the same space.”

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About the Author

Jennifer LeClaire

Jennifer LeClaire is a veteran business journalist, editor and new media entrepreneur with a strong niche in real estate and technology. She works from a home office on the beach in South Florida. You can reach her through LinkedIn.

5 Responses

Maggie Correta April 13th, 2009 at 12:11 pm

I love the name of this coworking facility – Collective Turf. That’s very clever. It looks like these ladies have tapped into a real void in the office space market in their region. I’d be interested to know if any other coworking facilities in the area respond to this article, or if executive offices suites are preferred there. I don’t know much about Champaign-Urbana.

Elizabeth Sanchez April 14th, 2009 at 5:02 am

This is great. I also love the name Collective Turf. It looks like these two ladies have the only coworking set up in the Urbana area. I don’t see any traditional serviced office spaces there, either. There’s nothing in the directory on this site. Hmm. Is this a market that’s ripe for executive suites office industry expansion?

Elizabeth Sanchez April 15th, 2009 at 5:07 am

The good part about this coworking deal is that these girls have their own office space built into the mix. Entrepreneurs who go this route reduce the risk of the investment. It’s a very smart strategy in a down economy. I saw the pictures of this coworking office space on their web site too — very nice!

Are Executive Office Suites Getting Smaller? April 17th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

[...] choices about working in ‘third places’ such as the local coffee shop, the home office or a coworking facility, the idea that an organization can provide some of those casual spaces, supported by [...]

Melanie Jones April 19th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

It’s interesting. There’s a whole set of buzzwords around the coworking industry just as there is around the executive office suites industry. They are much different buzzwords, of course, but the message is basically the same: it’s alternative office space that meets the needs of a specific group of individuals and companies. These are complimentary industries, as I see it.

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