The revitalization of Fort Benjamin Harrison from a military base to a growing business hub is continuing. The city of Lawrence is marking the official opening today of The Base at Fort Harrison. The coworking space is the result of a public-private partnership with players including the Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and Yeager Properties. Organizers say The Base will ultimately house up to 100 members. The opening comes on the same day as the Westfield Chamber of Commerce officially cuts the ribbon on its new office in The Union coworking space.
Lawrence Community Development Corp. Executive Director Chris Barnett says The Base will be a "launching pad for innovative new startups and will lead to a new network of small businesses that will help keep top talent in Lawrence." The Base features services including high-speed wireless Internet, printing and postage as well as access to networking opportunities and and advice from business and planning advisors.
Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jessica Tower says there has been "huge demand" for a space of this type for years. She says there is room to expand, either by growing the current building or adding another building. She says The Base will also serve as an incubator for entrepreneurs and small businesses in Lawrence.
The Base is the latest example of the revitalization of historic Fort Benjamin Harrison, which has been ongoing for decades. In addition to the growing business presence, the former base now features business newly-built homes, restaurants and retail. Companies including Bloomerang, Blue Ribbon Transport and Enjoy currently call Fort Harrison home.
Westfield’s new coworking space, The Union, opened in March. Earlier this summer, the Westfield Chamber of Commerce announced it would have an additional location in that facility. Chamber President Jack Russell says working from "The U" daily gives him the ability to further connect with people and support Westfield businesses.