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PNC Bank building co-working space opening soon

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Ben Kafferlin speaks during an open house for Innovault Cowork, a downtown co-working space located in the PNC Bank building, held on Friday night.

A downtown project years in the works is on the brink of coming to fruition.

Innovault Cowork is targeting a Jan. 1 opening on the first floor of the PNC Bank building at the corner of Second Ave. and Liberty St. The idea was first pitched back in 2016 and an open house was held Friday night.

An article from the Harvard Business Review describes coworking this way: “membership-based workspaces where diverse groups of freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals work together in a shared, communal setting.”

That first concept pre-dated the COVID-19 pandemic and Ben Kafferlin said there was “tacet interest” in a space like that in Warren at the time.

“Now the messages have increased,” he said, from people who are “emphatic they need to get into this space. I see the need increasing for a space like this. Something like this makes increasing sense in a post-COVID world.”

As for the first floor location, Kafferlin said getting the space “just worked.”

From there, a group of volunteers got to work — carpet was removed, the floors were redone which include preserving part of the original tile,

“(There are) so many days and days of volunteers that go into this thing,” he said.

The former bank office has been transformed — office space, conference spaces, a reading room in the old vault, kitchenette, sound system and internet.

Kafferlin called it “all the technology you would need for a small business.”

Access will be by tiered membership and the current target to open is Jan. 1.

Congressman Glenn Thompson previously announced a $90,000 grant to the Warren County Development Association for the rehabilitation of the building, specifically “to complete interior renovations and improvements to the co-working center…”

A website is in the works so the best place to currently get information about the space is https://www.facebook.com/innovaultco.work/.

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