AM: Poss. Internet coop/incubator?
First, my apologies if you get this twice...I'm hoping for a broad cross-
section of opinion if that's possible.
I was in downtown Leesburg -- think Old Town Alexandria in miniature -- and
noticed that a older, distinguished-looking office building was for rent.
Now, it just so happens that the building's owner was out walking his dogs and
saw me looking. He gave me a tour of the building. I was impressed -- it's
roomy, attractive, upgradeable and at least in some areas wired.
I think this building could be a super-cool shared location for Internet
startups, complete with a shared fat pipe and lots of idea pollination. Kind
of a self-formed incubator, perhaps.
Here's what I see as the advantages:
* Not only is downtown "old Leesburg" quaint and fun, but more importantly,
it's quite accessible in super-hot Loudoun county (from Fairfax, perhaps 20
minutes on the Greenway or straight in from Tyson's on Route 7). And there
are, of course, lots of willing high-tech workers pouring into Loudoun (myself
included, sometime soon, when I find the right place).
Unless the deal gets fouled, Uunet plans to bring 10,000 new jobs to Loudoun
shortly. (As the building owner put it, with some justification, Loudoun would
effectively become one of the world Internet capitals.)
* The owner's looking for $15/sq foot, a rate I don't consider extreme though
perhaps not incredibly low. He says he'd rather lock in a 10-year lease (i.e.
keep rates level) than make a big increase each year.
* Downtown Leesburg (the quaint part) is nearby to all of the necessary
services for daily living and comfort. In other words, not fair down Route 7
are the dry cleaners, supermarkets etc. that make after work chores easier.
* The owner's more focused on drawing traffic to the soon-to-be-launched
restaurant he's handling next door. From what I've seen, FYI, I think the
restaurant will be incredibly hip -- he's restoring a 100 year old or so
building into a spectacular new space. I consider that to be a real plus for
the quality of work life.
Now, I know I sound like an economic development officer for the county, but I
don't stand to make any money or such on this -- I'm just excited by the idea
and would like to participate.
What do you folks think of the concept? Any idea what it would cost the owner
to offer a pre-wired building complete with pre-connected access (a la New
York's 100 Broad)?
- Anne Zieger