Co-working office, digital lounge set to open in Missoula’s Old Sawmill District

The C3 co-working office space is planned for the ground floor of Cambium Place, which is under construction in Missoula’s Old Sawmill District.

The developers behind the Old Sawmill District near downtown Missoula plan to open an upscale co-working lounge next year, offering local entrepreneurs a place to conduct business outside a traditional office.

The 3,000-square-foot facility, dubbed C3, will open on the ground floor of Cambium Place, a four-story mixed-use building under construction on Wyoming Street within the upstart Missoula neighborhood.

“We’re calling it C3 WorkLounge for connect, collaborate and create,” said Linnea Stanhope with the Old Sawmill District. “It’s basically an open space where people can come together and work collaboratively.”

During a celebration of local entrepreneurs this week, Stanhope said the C3 vision will closely resemble a concept created by WeWork, a national company that leases ground floor space in office buildings, divides it into smaller parcels and charges a monthly membership to startups and companies that need a place to conduct business.

The C3 office will include three membership levels, starting with a “sit anywhere” fee. The second level will offer a dedicated desk while the highest level comes with a private office. Daily fees will also be offered.

“We want to create a place for people to come together, share ideas and collaborate,” said Stanhope. “The design is meant to be aesthetically pleasing while offering state-of-the-art technology, making the space a natural fit for business to hold events.”

As planned, the co-working lounge will include 50 “hot desk” seats (sit anywhere), 15 dedicated desks and six private offices. It will also offer two conference rooms, two phone booths for private conversations, and a copy and mail center.

Construction is expected to wrap up next year on Cambium Place. (Martin Kidston/Missoula Current)

It also comes with complimentary coffee, tea or draft micro beer and 1 gigabyte of high-speed Internet service. The facility will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are working with Paradigm Architects to design the space,” said Stanhope. “We’re not reinventing the wheel, as it will look and feel like a WeWork space.”

WeWork has emerged as the leader in the growing co-working space movement. According to Deskmag.com, which tracks co-working trends, more than 5,900 shared office operations are now in use globally compared to just 300 five years ago.

Back then, according to Forbes, there were fewer than 10,000 people working in such locations worldwide. Today, that number is closer to 260,000. That work-anywhere concept may also play in Missoula’s favor, as its quality of life continues to attract new startups.

“I’ve been to co-working spaces in Denver and California, and some people will just work by themselves, or they’ll have a fledgling company rotating use. For example, a lawfim may rent an office that all their attorneys may utilize. Everyone around you is business oriented.”

Contact reporter Martin Kidston at info@missoulacurrent.com