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New push to keep small businesses in downtown West Palm Beach

Co-working space called 1909 aims to buy vacant building
Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 18:51:01-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A co-working space located in downtown West Palm Beach wants to spruce up the city and purchase an old vacant building on Clematis Street.

Downtown West Palm Beach is no stranger to vacant storefronts, but there's one building that's of high interest — 314 Clematis St.

Just one block away, a co-working space called 1909 has been eyeing the building.

The organization is a hub of innovation for startups and small businesses, but they're out of space and want to expand their footprint.

1909 co-founder Danielle Casey
Danielle Casey explains the push to keep small businesses in downtown West Palm Beach.

"We're working with a phenomenal architect to restore the historical preservation, the facade of the space, and we have some renderings," said 1909 co-founder Danielle Casey.

"We believe that West Palm Beach can be a creative capital," said Shane Savage, the chief strategy officer of Pathos creative agency in West Palm Beach.

He's on board with 1909's plans and the potential to grow in the 30,000 square-foot space.

"We have attachments and emotional connections to downtown West Palm Beach, our friends, our families," Savage said. "They are all based here."

1909 is one of six organizations that have placed a bid to buy the building located at 314 Clematis St. from West Palm Beach's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).

City commissioners are expected to make a decision Monday.

However, the agenda already includes a resolution to accept an offer from a real estate investment company called Brand Atlantic for $10 million.

At this point, the plan is to put parking and a restaurant on the first floor with commercial office space on the second floor.

"A lot of small businesses are unfortunately being pushed out of the urban core," Casey said.

1909 worries that commercial space will be too expensive for startups, ultimately driving small businesses out of the downtown district.

"I don't want to leave the home that we've built this business on," Savage said.