Coshocton Port Authority looking to establish project at the Chacos Building
COSHOCTON — An old building on Main Street is looking to receive new life through the Coshocton Collaborative, an initiative targeted to developing new businesses, entrepreneurs and artists.
Announced earlier this summer, the Coshocton Collaborative will feature a unique maker space, business incubator and co-working facility while also providing office space for the Coshocton Port Authority and others. Renovations are estimated to take 18 to 24 months and the port authority is currently seeking an architect for the project.
It’s also estimated to close on purchasing the Chacos Building at 538 Main St next week. Moon Property Management bought the building from Heritage Entertainment in 2010. It took over the building in 2000 and plans to create the Coshocton Performing Arts and Conference Center came to an end around 2005. Work from the project can still be seen inside, such as frames for dressing rooms and surfaces ready for drywall.
Chris, Pete and Ted Chacos bought the Colonial Theater in 1912. They renamed it the Pastime Theater and a new structure was erected in 1925. In the 1980s, it became a mini-mall.
Tiffany Swigert, Port Authority director, said the three story building provides the space they need. While not part of initial plans, there is also hope on reviving the theater area for plays, concerts, movies and more. She said that could really make the building a tourism attraction.
“Once the community sees what we see here as an asset, maybe they will get excited about it and we can maybe do a future campaign to get this going. Right now, we just know it’s definitely an asset and one that’s deserving of being preserved,” Swigert said. “There were some incredible intentions in this building at one point. The fact that we have this right here in this community and it’s not doing anything right now, we need to change that. If we’re able to do what we need to do in the front of this building while maintaining this and preserving it for future use, that’s what we really want to do.”
The port authority was recently awarded a Vibrancy Fund grant from JobsOhio. The exact amount hasn’t been announced. It’s also received $375,000 from the Coshocton Foundation and is pursuing other grants and donations. This includes working with the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association and the Economic Development Administration.
“The JobsOhio grant will help facilitate transformational and multifaceted growth in
Coshocton. This downtown redevelopment project will not only repurpose a beautiful building on Main Street but it will provide a place for young and mature entrepreneurs, students and business persons of all ages to explore their ideas,” Swigert said. “We have a lot of work still ahead of us but we are confident in the partnerships we have built. Our partners are really excited about the vision created and they are doing everything they can to help us cross the finish line.”
What the building will feature
The basement would be the maker space with equipment for a wide variety of work. This could include a machine shop, wood shop and artists’ studio. Challenges regarding ventilation need to be tackled. Small spots intended for dressing rooms might become recording studios for podcasts, webcasts, voiceover work and more.
The first floor would feature offices for OTC, the 3 for 3 Initiative, the Small Business Development Center of Kent State University and the Coshocton Port Authority. It would also contain a co-working space. This would be for students who need a place to do school work and adults who need a place to work outside the home. People could bring in their own devices, but there would be a computer lab too with a shared copier and scanner.
“There’s a component here where co-working means businesses that might be working remotely from home. Maybe they’re working from home, but don’t have great (internet) service or maybe a home with some kiddoes and they need a quiet place to conference or work or network with other peers,” Swigert said. “We also want to be a place for our students to come in after school and utilize as a tutoring area and study center.”
The second and third floors would be a business incubator with space for about 20 offices. There might also be communal space for individuals to collaborate. This second floor is for people in the first year or two of a new business or project. Those in year three to four would be on the third floor as they’re a little further along on their journey.
Swigert said the idea would be for entrepreneurs to eventually move into their own space and no longer needing the push and foundation the Collaborative offers. A business incubator is not about providing a permanent location, she said.
“I have a 19-year-old who is incredibly entrepreneurial in his thinking. I’m lucky enough to sit at the table and hear that and be able to help cultivate that in him. But, how many other people don’t get that opportunity? We want to create an environment where they are surrounded by those people,” Swigert said. “If there’s not a place where that can happen or a home for that to happen, it’s not likely. We feel like this is the place.”
Developing an event space right off of the theater area is also in the plans. This could be for private parties, catered events prior to shows and connecting with the community during streets fairs and block parties.
“We want to be a warm and welcoming place people want to come in and check out, but also one we can separate out at certain points too,” she said. “We want this to be a place where everyone feels welcome.”