An idea that has been discussed for years to give entrepreneurs and startup businesses a place to work has a possible location in Franklin.
City officials have been discussing a co-working space for years, and now a downtown business owner has offered the venture a space.
Greg Leugers owns Hometown Insurance and Real Estate, located at 26 E. Jefferson St., and has offered the second floor to be used as a co-working space, with a future plan to expand into the building next door above Greek’s Pizzeria and Tapp Room, he said.
The building already operates similar to a co-working space, with real estate and insurance agents along with mortgage and title companies all working there, but the space is underutilized, Leugers said.
“It would be a better use of the building with more people in it,” he said.
He thinks the co-working space could be running in as little as two months, he said. The building does need some modifications, including an elevator, and Leugers has been meeting with contractors, he said.
The city could help with some of those costs through money from a voluntary fee that companies pay when they get a tax break, Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett said. The city is discussing dedicating those funds — estimated to be about $46,000 — to the co-working space, but that is the only year the money would go to that venture, Barnett said.
The city and Leugers are currently working on agreement for the funding, Barnett said.
The Franklin Development Corp., a nonprofit agency funded by the city, has been involved in getting the idea going, but the organization doesn’t want to run the co-working space, board president Jeff Mercer said.
Once it was started, Leugers would continue to run the space, estimating he would charge between $100 and $150 per month to entrepreneurs and small businesses that want to use the space. For that price, they would get internet service, printers, conference rooms and meeting space, he said.
But those small startup businesses also could collaborate in that space, possibly building a larger company, Leugers said.
That is exactly what the city would like to see happen, Barnett said.
During the time they have been studying a potential co-working space, officials have toured similar spaces in other communities and heard plenty of success stories and seen that this is the model that works best, Barnett said.