Crowley: enterprise center 2.0
Crowley’s Enterprise Center has remained largely vacant for many years yet is home to the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, two community action agencies and one small business. If the community wants to grow its existing businesses and create new ones, Crowley needs to pursue innovative options to support its emerging workforce and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Given its close proximity to Crowley Main Street, the Enterprise Center 2.0 presents a prime opportunity for redevelopment as a live/work space for remote workers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. Mixed-use developments are increasingly popular in urban centers and continue to attract young professionals to oversaturated downtowns. But if the Enterprise Center 2.0 can provide modern housing options with flexible workspace, Acadia Parish will be able to incentivize the next generation of workforce to live and work there instead of their higher cost-of-living neighbors.
The first floor should continue to house the existing tenants but should maximize the space by designing a co-working facility with conference rooms, private offices, dedicated desks and shared work tables. Additionally, the first floor should host other amenities including a business incubator, makeshift classrooms, lounge area, and small café serving pre-packaged foods, coffee and drinks from local establishments. To fill the need for downtown living and maximize the return on investment of the redeveloped building, the second floor should be redesigned as loft apartments with modern residential amenities such as a gym and communal lounge area.
Co-working spaces are essentially shared workspaces and are becoming more and more popular among entrepreneurs, start-ups, remote workers and small business owners alike. Co-working spaces are already popular in the majority of urban centers but are also increasingly gaining traction in more rural areas as an alternative to working from a home office, a coffee shop and even a traditional office setting. By the end of 2018, there will be more than 19,000 co-working spaces serving more than 1.7 million consumers and the trend is on the incline. Made popular by companies such as WeWork, these shared workspaces offer a suite of office-like amenities such as hot desks, offices, conference rooms, lounge areas, kitchens, coffee and more. Occupants are typically freelancers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses who want to take advantage of flexible office space at affordable rates.
Private Offices: Enclosed, lockable offices for up to 4 occupants. Move-in ready with desks, chairs, and filing cabinets. Best for small businesses of 1-4 people, satellite offices, and established teams.
Dedicated Desks: Choose a permanent dedicated desk in a shared office with other members. Access to premium amenities, desks, chairs, and filing cabinets. Best for remote workers, freelancers, consultants, and college/graduate students.
Flex Desks: Choose a flexible desk or tabletop in any open space. Access to premium amenities with a guaranteed spot to plug in and get to work. Best for remote workers, startups and small businesses, freelancers, consultants, and high school or college students.
|TYPE||FLEX DESK||DEDICATED DESK||OFFICE|
|FEATURES||DAY PASS/7-DAY PASS||FLEX DESK||DEDICATED DESK||OFFICE|
|Access to copy/scan/print||☑||☑||☑||☑|
|Phone & meeting booths||☑||☑||☑||☑|
|Patio & lounge areas||☑||☑||☑||☑|
|Conference rooms||1 hour||2 hours/mo||4 hours/mo||6 hours/mo|
|Professional & social events||☑||☑||☑|
|Lockable file cabinet||☑||☑|
The first floor of the Enterprise Center 2.0 should have up to four makeshift classrooms that can be used for workforce training, adult classes, K-12 classes and social activities, among other in-demand uses. These classrooms can be used for programming hosted by the Enterprise Center 2.0 or can be rented for use by individuals and organizations. The purpose of these classrooms is to have flexible space for a variety of uses, activities, and events that are revenue-generating and enhance the financial solvency of the Enterprise Center 2.0 overall.
The classrooms in the Enterprise Center 2.0 can be used a variety of ways but given the close proximity to urban areas – such as Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles and New Orleans – Acadia Parish should place emphasis on providing tech-based training to support the workforce needed by large technology companies located in these areas. The number of employees working remotely continues to increase so Acadia Parish should act now to attract these people to live and work in the area. By 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be 1.4 million more software development jobs than applicants who can fill them. To begin creating a pipeline of workers for these jobs, the Enterprise Center 2.0 should partner with existing software development boot camp academies such as Cultivating Coders, Flatiron School, or Base Camp Coding Academy to provide their industry-recognized curriculum to Acadia Parish residents. These programs are suitable for adults, college and high school students, and teachers. Additionally, there are plenty of interactive resources and programs for young children to begin to learn how to code.
- Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Provides a customized coding boot camp and equipment to rural, tribal, and under-served areas
- Based in New York City, with satellite offices in other urban areas
- Provides online software engineering boot camp, online data science boot camp, and community-powered boot camp
Base Camp Coding Academy
- Based in Water Valley, Mississippi
- Provides a 12-month software development training program with industry-recognized curriculum
In addition to workforce training, the makeshift classrooms should be designed to host a variety of education classes for all ages. Not only will this generate more revenue for the Enterprise Center 2.0, but this will also bring a wide-range of community members into the space at all times of the day. Seeing consistent activity at the Enterprise Center 2.0 will only drive more potential consumers to the community space. Additionally, the Enterprise Center 2.0 will provide teachers, instructors, mentors and others with a modern facility to host their classes and reach more students than they would in a single-use facility. The Enterprise Center 2.0 should partner with South Louisiana Community College, Acadia Parish School Board, Acadia Parish Arts Council and local non-profits, among others to provide a large variety of classes at the new facility.
Some examples of education classes include:
- Personal Finance 101
- Microsoft Office 101
- ACT Prep
- SAT Prep
- Coding 101
- STEM Class
Arts & Music
- Painting 101
Business incubator programs help speed up the growth and success of startups and early stage companies by providing essential resources, guidance, and often, a physical space for entrepreneurs to house their companies at low cost. Business incubator programs can be in-person or virtual, and not only help support promising entrepreneurs but also bolster local economic development opportunities. On the first floor of the Enterprise Center 2.0, Acadia Parish should design a customized space for local and regional entrepreneurs to participate in business incubator programs. Potential partners include Innov8 Acadiana, Louisiana Small Business Development Center at UL-Lafayette, and CO.STARTERS.
Crowley residents expressed their interest in having access to healthier food options in the form of a café. To serve this need, the Enterprise Center 2.0 should have a small café with pre-packaged foods from local restaurants. Not only will this provide an additional revenue source for local establishments, but it will also provide permanent and frequent consumers with a quick and healthy options on-site. The café should also be fully stocked with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase. The Enterprise Center 2.0 should begin partnering with local restaurants near main street such as The Vanilla Bean, Reggie’s Downtown Crowley, Zeus Crowley and Frosto Diner, among others.
Modern Loft Apartments
As in many rural communities, having housing options for all residents is a challenge for the City of Crowley. The 2013-2017 American Community Survey estimates indicate zero* housing units were built between 2014-2017. As discovered in the visioning session and qualitative data assessment, the majority of Crowley residents expressed an interest in downtown living, modern apartments, and short-term stay lodging (i.e. boutique hotel, bed-and-breakfast, Airbnb, etc.). If Crowley wants to attract and retain young professionals, the Enterprise Center 2.0 should host up to 20 modern loft apartments on its second floor. Featuring 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, the buildout should also include a boutique fitness room and communal lounge area to foster an inclusive community for new residents.
*+/- 0.6% margin of error
|TYPE||1 BEDROOM||2 BEDROOM|
|# of Units||10||10|
Owner/operator assessment + Options
Currently, the City of Crowley owns the Enterprise Center, but the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce manages the building for a nominal rate. The City, Chamber, and other relevant stakeholders should consider the following options for future operation and management of the Enterprise Center 2.0:
|The City of Crowley maintains ownership and leases the building for a nominal amount to the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce to manage the building||As desired, the Chamber of Commerce will continue to manage the Enterprise Center 2.0 on behalf of the city.||The Chamber of Commerce has a small staff and while the proposed budget calls for hiring more staff to manage operations, building management could become too overwhelming for the Chamber to conduct their own day-to-day operations.|
|The City of Crowley maintains ownership and leases the building for a nominal amount to an existing or newly formed non-profit to manage the building||Using an existing or newly formed non-profit will create an umbrella organization whose purpose is to manage the Enterprise Center 2.0 and oversee its subcomponents. A non-profit with IRS 501(c)(3) status will also increase likelihood of eligibility for public funding opportunities.||An existing non-profit might not have the appropriate mission or organizational structure and creating a new non-profit takes time, resources, and effort to attain IRS 501(c)(3) status.|
|The City of Crowley sells the building for a nominal amount to the Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce||The City of Crowley will no longer have to oversee management, allocate financial resources, or be legally responsible for the Enterprise Center 2.0 building.||The City of Crowley will relinquish an asset for a nominal fee to the Chamber of Commerce which has finite capacity at this time.|
|The City of Crowley sells the building for a nominal amount to an existing or newly formed non-profit||The City of Crowley will no longer have to oversee management, allocate financial resources, or be legally responsible for the Enterprise Center 2.0 building.||The City of Crowley will relinquish an asset for a nominal fee to an existing or newly formed non-profit instead of leasing the building to generate revenue.|
|Lease of building||12|
|Elevator (3 studies)||80,000|
|Communal Lounge Buildout||150,000|
|Co-working Space Buildout||600,000|
|Cafe (with small kitchen)||112,500|
|Business Incubator Buildout||225,000|
|Year 1 Operational Budget||981,799.43|
The full Pro Forma can be found in Appendix B.
|CAPITAL CAMPAIGN SOURCES|
|Historic Tax Credits – State||694,911.46|
|Historic Tax Credits – Federal||694,911.46|
|Enterprise Center 2.0 Naming||500,000.00|
|Apartment Community Naming||325,000.00|
|Co-working Space Naming||175,000.00|
|Conference Room Naming||75,000.00|
|4 pledges of $50,000||200,000.00|
|10 pledges of $10,000 – $25,000||175,000.00|
|City of Crowley||50,000.00|
|Acadia Parish Police Jury||35,000.00|
- Form new non-profit
- Secure building
- Develop buildout concept
- Establish Capital Campaign Committee
- Establish Capital Campaign Committee
Form a new non-profit to oversee the Enterprise Building 2.0
Work with local attorney for pro-bono 501(c)(3) creation
Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce
Assess owner/operator options and secure building
Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce and new non-profit
Negotiate with the City of Crowley to determine owner/operator options and buy or lease building for a nominal cost
Develop buildout concept
Design floorplan in collaboration with potential consumers and stakeholders
Q3 – Q4 2019
Establish Capital Campaign Committee (CCC) and develop fundraising strategy
McClure – Phase II or Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce and new non-profit (in collaboration with other communities’ CCCs)
Identify community leaders/project champions to assist with fundraising efforts, create funding roadmap, and launch silent capital campaign
Launch public capital campaign to support buildout and initial operations of the Enterprise Center 2.0
McClure – Phase II or CCC
Update funding roadmap, determine viable resources, and secure necessary capital