Flex Space from Vacant Storefronts

Jim Rettew
by Jim Rettew | Mar 08, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

Rent out vacant storefronts on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis to artists, start-ups, nonprofits, and neighborhood groups.
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Similar to a bike share program or even checking out a library book, we could set up a model to "check out" commercial space from the city. Owners would post the space and outline its possible uses (does it have a kitchen, a bathroom, electricity, etc). Spaces would be searchable by use, characteristics, and zoning. Users would be given a key card that would activate the space for the allotted time.
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Example might include:
- A nonprofit could book a neighborhood meeting space for its clients
- A local band could find a place to practice for a few hours
- A photographer could stage a temporary gallery
- An online store could try out a brick and mortar solution to see if it worked
- A school could exhibit student artwork
- A film student could use it for a location shoot
- A yoga teacher uses it to teach class
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Spaces that were once empty would now fostering a dynamic, ever-changing, vibrant communities.

About You

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About You

First Name

Jim

Last Name

Rettew

City

Wayzata

County

Hennepin

Country

United States, MN

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

Rebekah Emanuel from Open IDEO

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Flex Space from Vacant Storefronts

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

Rent out vacant storefronts on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis to artists, start-ups, nonprofits, and neighborhood groups.
.
Similar to a bike share program or even checking out a library book, we could set up a model to "check out" commercial space from the city. Owners would post the space and outline its possible uses (does it have a kitchen, a bathroom, electricity, etc). Spaces would be searchable by use, characteristics, and zoning. Users would be given a key card that would activate the space for the allotted time.
.
Example might include:
- A nonprofit could book a neighborhood meeting space for its clients
- A local band could find a place to practice for a few hours
- A photographer could stage a temporary gallery
- An online store could try out a brick and mortar solution to see if it worked
- A school could exhibit student artwork
- A film student could use it for a location shoot
- A yoga teacher uses it to teach class
.
Spaces that were once empty would now fostering a dynamic, ever-changing, vibrant communities.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Renting space is cumbersome – long leases, complex contracts, and high costs. Yet demand for meeting and exhibit space continues to be high. By meshing the principles behind the bike share program and library book check outs, we can take an underutilized resource, vacant storefronts, and turn them into vitality centers. It allows city residents the flexibility to do things they can't do out of their living rooms and to try out new ideas at a low cost.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

For Users
-Flexibility: Spaces is available when you need it for the right amount of time
-Low Cost: Very low cost rent, no long contracts or big up-front investment

For Owners
-Opportunity to rent space short term while figuring out long term plan
-Low maintenance: customers come to you, schedule directly on the website, swipe in with their key cards
-Potential to attract long term renters

For the City
-Boost economic activity and new foot-traffic to neighborhood
-Create a vibrant arts, culture, and nonprofit scene
-Create hot-beds for new start-ups
-Populate abandoned area
-Create buzz

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Financial Stability: The organizing entity gets a commission on every rental, generating a long term revenue stream.

Job Creation: Organizations can use the space as a low-risk, low-cost mechanism to offer and create new goods and services, eventually growing into larger entities that will hire and create more economic prosperity.

City Revenue: The economic activity from the space generates new tax revenues.

Cities like New York, Seattle, Detroit, and Pittsburgh have already undertaken similar initiatives and have seen positive results. We can learn from their prototypes to create a more sustainable solution.

Ivannee Lopez said: There are actually things that would let us know that we need to accomplish all of these things and everything that goes with it. - ... about this Competition Entry. - 2602 days ago read more >

Jim Rettew updated this Competition Entry. - 2856 days ago

Jim Rettew updated this Competition Entry. - 2859 days ago

Jim Rettew updated this Competition Entry. - 2863 days ago

Jim Rettew updated this Competition Entry. - 2881 days ago

Jim Rettew submitted this idea. - 2881 days ago