Jerad Stack traveled the world while working on engineering software, which wasn’t always conducive to the typical office environment.
While globetrotting, he frequented coworking spaces, shared workplaces individuals can use as communal work environments on the fly, Stack said.
“If you look at these solo practitioners, a lot are working in the gig economy, and they are working in their basement,” he said. “But there’s just something about working in offices.”
Enter The Durlacher, Laramie’s newest coworking space and Stack’s latest project, located at 203 S. Second Street, aka the Simon Durlacher building.
“My involvement in the history of the building goes back five or so years ago when I was CEO of Firehole,” Stack said.
Owned by Nick and Maggi Murdock, the building became the home of Firehole, then Autodesk, a multinational software company that acquired Firehole in 2013. But when Autodesk decided not to renew their lease in January, Stack said he knew just what to do with the place.
“I called up Nick and Maggi and told them I had an idea,” he said.
The three now co-own the coworking space, which opened Monday.
“A lot of the cosmetic design is new,” Stack said. “We were going for a really cool place for people to work. I’ve had a lot people come in and say, “This doesn’t feel like Laramie, but maybe (Lower Downtown Denver) or San Francisco.”
Inside The Durlacher, bare brick walls contrast finished spaces painted white and blue and decorated with fine art photography. Simple yet chic furniture is strategically scattered throughout the building to facilitate a clean work environment, but also provide opportunities for networking and collaboration.
“We’re trying to merge the new and the classic,” Stack said. “There’s a lot of history in downtown Laramie, and we’re trying to merge that with maximizing our work space.”
The coworking space is membership based, and members can rent time in the building by the day or the month, he said. Once rented, members have 24-hour access to the facility, which includes a kitchen area, conference rooms and high-speed internet connection among other office amenities.
“If you look at the demographic of coworking, it’s people in their mid-30s or under,” Stack said. “In Laramie, you have a lot creative types, a lot collaborative types and people who don’t necessarily need an office every day of the week.”
The lack of a lease commitment appeals to many white-collar millennials, he explained.
In an era where the entire world can accessed through a touch screen, people have become isolated by the vastness of global connectivity, but coworking spaces provide individuals and small teams an opportunity to work in a collaborative environment and form a community with people they might not have otherwise met, he said.
Currently, The Durlacher has a single full-time tenant, Hammontree Real Estate, and while Stack said he was open to more tenants in the future, the spaces available would likely be limited to small teams or individuals to preserve the openness of the venture.
“We’re really focused on those ones and twos that come and go as members,” he said.
Despite just opening, Stack said the community response has been positive.
“We’ve been open six hours and we’ve already got members signed up and in the building,” he said Monday. “That’s pretty exciting.”
Go to www.thedurlacher.com for more information about coworking and becoming a member.