New co-working space in Little Haiti opening soon, geared to creative types

MADE at the Citadel and Thomas Conway of Conway Commercial Real Estate
MADE at the Citadel and Thomas Conway of Conway Commercial Real Estate

Imagine after a long day of work, walking down the hall to shoot some pool, grab a beer or take a painting class  all without stepping outside.

A new co-working space opening soon in Miami’s Little Haiti, called MADE at the Citadel, plans to offer its members much more than desks and offices.

Named for Makers, Artists, Designers and Entrepreneurs, the massive space has 26,000 square feet on two floors. Built in 1951 as a former Bellsouth headquarters, the property at 8325 Northeast Second Avenue has been completely refurbished by Thomas Conway of Conway Commercial Real Estate and his partners Daniel Buraglia and Nick Hamann of Urban Atlantic Group, The Real Deal has learned.

The joint venture partners purchased the Miami Modern style building in June 2014 for $1.7 million, and have spent nearly $1 million renovating it, Conway said. They ripped up two layers of tile to uncover terrazzo flooring, tore down walls, scrapped a dropped ceiling, added new air conditioning, wiring and more. Plans are to open in early April.

“Our goal is to take architecturally significant real estate that we could purchase at an affordable price, improve it and extend those savings onto our tenants,” Conway told TRD.

Co-working spaces have become increasingly popular with entrepreneurs, particularly millennials, who are expected to represent 50 percent of the nation’s workforce by 2020, said John Sikaitis, Washington, D.C.-based U.S. research director for JLL, during a recent presentation at JLL’s Pulse360 2015. Other Miami co-working space firms include Büro Group, which operates shared workspaces in Midtown Miami and Miami Beach’s Sunset Harbour area, and plans to open new sites in Miami’s MiMo district and in Coconut Grove; and Pipeline, which has a share workspace on Miami’s Brickell Avenue.

MADE’s aim is to go beyond the usual professional space and create a collaborative environment for creative entrepreneurs, Conway said.

With a lobby entrance and an adjoining library lounge, the space is arranged to offer members a place to relax in addition to work. A rec room features a pool table and re-purposed furniture, including a long church pew that has been reupholstered as a sofa. The open kitchen offers a dining table. A huge workshop will have an infinity wall for photo shoots and room for art and design classes. And an exhibition space will allow members to display and eventually sell their work, said Joey Butler, Made’s director, who is spearheading the project.

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Beer will be available in the rec room, she said, and plans call for local breweries to offer their craft beer from time to time.

“We want people to come in the morning and leave late and night, and feel like they have been home all day,” Conway said.

Prices for co-working space ranges from $100 a month for a seat in an open space, to up to $1,500 for an office. Dogs are welcome in the offices, which run from 90 square feet to nearly 1,000 square feet, Butler said. Each member will have access to Internet, coffee, water, tea, a kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave, as well as access to all the common areas. So far, about a dozen members have signed up, including writers, photographers, artists and the radio station Shake 108, she said.

The Focal Point Program, a nonprofit after-school program that teaches photography to at-risk youth in Little Haiti, Overtown and the El Portal area, has already moved its staff into an office at MADE.

“I really like the space. I like their vision for it and the combination of work and play that they are going for,” said Seth Dixon, program director for The Focal Point Program.

“For me, I live in the area, so the idea of sticking around after work for an hour and mingling with people and having a beer is ideal for me,” he said.

Investing a total of $5 million in Little Haiti properties, the partners have also bought a 65,000-square-foot building across the street from Made, which will be a retail and fashion market and offices, Conway said.

“The area is going through ‘mindful gentrification,'” he said. “We want to make sure it is within reach of those who are from Miami, and our focus is on making Miami the next generation city is has the potential to be.”

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