Meet Cali Commons, Omaha’s newest co-working and collaboration space

While there's no doubt Omaha has a bevy of startup activity, Luke Armstrong saw a lack of spaces for co-working and collaboration across the city. So Armstrong, a UI/UX designer and the founder of RenMind ...

Omaha’s newest co-working space, Cali Commons, will host an open house from 4 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 25. 

While there’s no doubt Omaha has a bevy of startup activity, Luke Armstrong saw a lack of spaces for co-working and collaboration across the city. So Armstrong, a UI/UX designer and the founder of RenMind—a builder of websites and web-based software—began seriously considering starting one.

The result is Cali Commons, a combination co-working space and art gallery that will be located at 518 N. 40th Street in Omaha. Organizers will host an open house from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, and begin accepting tenants later this month.

A more traditional office at Cali Commons will cost $300 per month while a co-working space will be $125 per month. Armstrong says organizers hope to keep the space fairly casual, with coffee, tea and maybe the occasional beer or two, and only about 10 individuals at any given time.

Silicon Prairie News asked Armstrong a few questions about Omaha’s newest co-working space and his vision behind Cali Commons.

Silicon Prairie News: Where did the idea of Cali Commons come from? 

Luke Armstrong: Starting a co-working space was actually a bit of an accident. Our art studio, Luke Armstrong and Molly Nicklin, and RenMind’s offices were in Benson—it was a basic, rough space and we were looking to upgrade. I was up late on night looking at Craigslist and commercial real estate sites and saw that an old grocery store on 40th and California was for sale. Molly and I both got really excited and knew it would be ideal space for us with room for some friends.

We floated an offer and we started thinking hard about what we actually wanted to do with the space. Co-working seemed a natural fit—it could work with an art gallery and we thought Midtown could use a co-working space. We love this part of town with all its personality and a culture that is growing and changing.

SPN: What do you hope to accomplish through this new co-working space? 

LA: We hope Cali Commons will be a space for artists and entrepreneurs to find inspiration and productivity in a relaxed natural setting. For us it’s an adventure and we wanted to cater to those with adventurous spirits. Our aspiration is to find individuals who want to support a space for local artists and entrepreneurs, individuals who want to grow and help others grow too. Cali Commons will operate a little differently from some other co-working spaces. We don’t really want people to stop in to work for just a day or stop in one week and not the next. We want to build relationships and community. It’s kind of an experiment to see if we can really build an engaged group that can be more than any individual out on their own.

SPN: Why do you think Omaha’s entrepreneurial community could gain from another co-working space? 

LA: We didn’t know of any other similar spaces in Midtown. We’re close to Dundee, Benson and downtown, and that’s where a lot of people live and where stuff is happening. We’re a little bit different because we come from an art background and the space will have new art on the walls each month with occasional events and shows. We also have the goal of being affordable. We’re going to keep it to around 10 people, using the co-working space on a monthly basis to keep numbers down and hopefully we’ll have a good group of people who will keep coming back. We’re also going to keep it casual.

 

Credits: Image from CaliCommons.com. Luke Armstrong photo from TryRenMind.com

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