Introducing 'Gravitate' — a new entrepreneurial center of gravity in Des Moines

attachment-5385b466e4b00bb3cc6ef687

Two weeks ago, I shared the start of a plan that several folks in the community have been working on to establish a new "entrepreneurial center of gravity" in downtown Des Moines starting this fall.

In that time we've had dozens of additional conversations, worked up several different layouts and even settled on a name — Gravitate.

Now we’re at the exciting point where we can share specifics on the space itself and start signing up members.

So, what’s the space going to be like?

Coworking

Proposed Floor Plan (up is east, that wall looks out onto 6th Avenue)

Gravitate’s main work space is a large open area on the south side with planned seating for up to 40 people at one time. This ‘bullpen’ will primarily be open seating at large tables where members can spread out for the day with access to all the wifi and power they need. Members can also utilize any of the three conference rooms throughout the floor for private calls and meetings.

Lounge + Cafe

North of work space will be a lounge area with couches and soft chairs. This will be multipurpose — workspace for those who want that environment, a place for impromptu meetings and calls and a general place to relax

Just west of the lounge is the Cafe with a kitchenette, couches and high top tables. This will be intended as a lunch/break room space but also can be used for coworking.

Offices

Spread around the exterior of Gravitate are nine offices. These are for members who desire a more private workspace but still want to participate in the greater entrepreneurial community. It’s also a way for companies to stay a part of Gravitate as they mature and their work space needs change.

Event Space

Gravitate will regularly host events in the social spaces (Lounge and Cafe) and on occasion in the work space (tables and chairs will be on wheels so they’re easily moved out of the way). Additionally, we’ll have access to a large event space in the building with seating for up to 200 people and built-in audio/video. This space is ideal for events of all kinds, anything from a Startup Weekend to a launch party. It’s available to coworkers and external members of the community.

Podcasting/Video Studio

We’re considering adding a podcasting/video studio space on another floor to Gravitate’s amenities. This space would be set up with the equipment for these activities and could be rented on an as needed-basis. If this is something you’d use — either as a coworking member or externally from the community — let me know.

Building amenities

Gravitate will be located in The Midland Building at the corner of 6th & Mulberry in downtown Des Moines. The Midland is a 101 year old 12 story building that at the time of it’s opening was the “tallest skyscraper in Iowa”. The first floor features a coffee shop and will soon have a restaurant. There’ a fitness room with showers and it's one building off the skywalk. It’s located mere blocks from the new Des Moines Social Club, Court Avenue/Downtown Farmers Market and one block from the Walnut Street redevelopment project.

Memberships

Gravitate is first and foremost a community space and like the Des Moines Social Club says “you are a member” already just for being part of the community. Community members are invited to all sorts of events and we want everyone to feel that this space is theirs and that it is an asset to the Des Moines scene.

If you’d like to utilize the space on a more direct basis, here are the other membership options:

Social Membership — $75/year

Support Gravitate! (launch pricing until Sept 1)

This membership option is for external community members that want to directly help support and launch Gravitate. If coworking isn’t for you or you work for a company that has offices somewhere else in town, this is a great way for you to help see Gravitate become a reality.

Join right now with Dwolla or Credit Card

  • Sign up by August 31 to be included as a founding member
  • 10% discount on services - daily drop in, mailbox, conference room rental
  • 10% discount to our events
  • Member t-shirt
  • Our undying love and gratitude

Coworking - Office — $400-500/month

  • Sign up by August 31 to be included as a founding member
  • A dedicated office for you and your team (up to 4 people)
  • 24-hour access
  • Screaming fast internet
  • Access to the floating coworking space
  • Whiteboards, projector, printers, etc.
  • Access to the Midland Conference Center (event space for up to 200 people)
  • Conference rooms for your meeting needs
  • Access to the building’s fitness center & showers
  • All you can drink coffee in the Cafe
  • Refrigerator, microwave, etc.
  • Receive mail & packages
  • Member t-shirt

Coworking - Floating Desk — $150/month

  • Sign up by August 31 to be included as a founding member
  • Grab an open seat at one of your big tables in the work space — it’s yours for the day!
  • 24-hour access
  • Screaming fast internet
  • Access to the floating coworking space
  • Whiteboards, projector, printers, etc.
  • Access to the Midland Conference Center (event space for up to 200 people)
  • Conference rooms for your meeting needs
  • Access to the building’s fitness center & showers
  • All you can drink coffee in the Cafe
  • Refrigerator, microwave, etc.
  • Receive mail & packages
  • Member t-shirt

Coworking - Daily Drop In — $15/day or ten day punch card for $100*

  • Grab any open seat at one of your big tables. It’s your spot for the day and
  • Access to the floating coworking space
  • Whiteboards, projector, printers, etc.
  • Conference rooms for your meeting needs
  • Access to the building’s fitness center & showers
  • All you can drink coffee in the Cafe
  • Refrigerator, microwave, etc.

Just need an address? — $25/mo*

  • Is your startup a side project that you work on nights and weekend from home? Use Gravitate as your address. We’ll happily receive your mail and packages and let you know when they show up.

*Social Members receive a 10% discount on these

Founding Members

Wondering what’s up with this “founding member” thing? We’re working on a few ways to commemorate everyone who helped us get Gravitate off the ground. We don’t have it all pinned down yet but we want something fixed in the space to thank all of you that were willing to dive in and support us in getting started. Join one of the paid membership levels by August 31 to be included.

Is this really happening? What’s left to get it off the ground?

Almost. We’ve gone over the plans with the building owner and he’s excited for the space and ready for us to get started. Our goal is to be open September 1. Before we pull the trigger, I want to make sure we’ll have enough members at launch to make the business of Gravitate make sense. We’re signing up people now with the caveat that there is no commitment if the space never starts.

If you’re interested, let’s talk now (email me). We have pending commitments for several of the offices and many interested coworkers so I’m pretty confident we’re in good shape. We’re asking initial members to commit to a 3-month term just to let us get off the ground and then things will be month-to-month from there.

If you’d like to be a Social Member, you can sign up now with Dwolla or a Credit Card.

Also, we do need to raise some money for buildout costs and furniture. If you’d like to sponsor the space, I’d love to talk to you (email me).

This group of people is awesome

A big shout out to everyone who has worked on this project so far. In particular — Lyndsay Clark for mocking up the interior renderings and designed the floor plan. Joe Benesh for his architecture expertise. Kasey McCurdy for coming up with the name. Brian Wajda, Josh Ames, Jon Thompson, Max Farrell for joining the others on an ad hoc “steering committee” for the project and a dozen or so others who have lent their thoughts, feedback and advice.

Update!

Interested in helping defray the costs of buildout and furniture? Check this out this post — Support our entrepreneurial community: Sponsor Gravitate!


Geoff Wood has been helping tell the story of the Iowa startup community since 2009. In addition to writing here daily, he hosts a weekly podcast, speaks at conferences and organizes several events in the community.