Self-employed and remote working Boiseans will have a new option for an office away from home later this month.
A new coworking and event space opened in the Collister neighborhood this week at5304 State Street. The space, called Fort Builder, will open in a renovated former flower shop and family home leftover from the days when the Collister neighborhood was considered Boise’s rural outskirts.
Amber Lawless and her son Grayson Lawless, who work in contracting, purchased the home and began a total renovation two years ago, as BoiseDev reported. What started as an aging building with fire damage and an overgrown backyard has transformed into a modern, homey space they hope to welcome workers to.
A home away from home
Unlike Trailhead, which helps launch entrepreneurs with work space and small business support, Fort Builder aims to be a permanent home for workers established in their careers who are looking for a comfortable place to work.
“We just wanted a better workplace and there were times we felt we were kind of crazy for doing it in the middle of the pandemic, but now we feel kind of brilliant because there’s a lot of people who won’t want to go back to working in tall buildings and communal offices and this will feel better to them now that they spent some time working from home,” Lawless said.
The space features a variety of work spaces for different people, like a couch, comfy armchairs, a sunny counter looking out over State Street and will have ample room (and wifi) for workers to set up shop outside during the warm months. It has a full kitchen, a lending library of books, office supplies and two private rooms to take phone calls or to record a podcast.
Open houses for Fort Builder will start soon and Lawless is hoping to start with 12 founding members to kick off the community with more members to be added over time. Prior to the pandemic, she hoped to have the building closer to its 46 occupancy limit, but due to COVID-19 it made more sense to create a quieter space with more room to spread out.
How much is membership?
It will be $275 per month to rent a “hot desk” in Fort Builder, which means you sit at any available space. Dedicated desks with carrels will be available for an additional $50 per month. Lawless hopes to recruit a cohort of “founding members” to sign on for an annual membership, which will initially cost $3,000 a year.
Fort Builder will operate as a coworking space from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then will be open for event reservations in the evenings. Anyone, regardless of if they are a member, in need of a conference room for a meeting can also book a meeting room for $40 an hour on their website.
The possibility of developing the coworking space in Collister excited Lawless, both because it’s a neighborhood where she and her son lived, but also because of the growing number of people in the area looking for a workspace. Plus, there are the coming improvements to public transit and bike lanes on State Street. She hopes these improvements and their close proximity to the Greenbelt will encourage members to bike to work in the mornings.
“The Collister neighborhood is made up of a lot of young professionals and we’re excited about the work happening on State Street and hoping that will improve it as a corridor with bike lanes and high capacity buses,” Lawless said. “It’s just far enough out of the city that if people don’t want to battle the city traffic they can come here.”