A new, 30,000-square-foot coworking space in Oak Ridge has opened and hopes to attract the science and technology startups, consultants and experts flowing into the region.
Ts117, (the periodic symbol and atomic number for the synthetic elemental chemical Tennessine) offers 30,000 square feet of coworking space across the street from Y-12 National Security Complex and near Oak Ridge National Labs.
Developed by R&R Properties, Ts117 offers flex space modeled after coworking giant WeWork.
Founders and brothers Rick and Ryan Chinn own about 500,000 square feet of office space in Oak Ridge.
“We feel like the clientele and the leasing is starting to gravitate toward shorter-term leases and we felt like we just didn’t have a product for that,” Ryan said.
Companies winning (and losing) government contracts tend to grow (and shrink) quickly, he said. The flex space allows members to adjust to those needs over time without signing a long-term lease.
Oak Ridge natives, the brothers handle the leasing, management and build-out of all their properties.
Their parents were nervous about the new venture at first, Rick said.
“It was kind of new for them,” Ryan said. “But they embraced it. Once we kind of explained it to them and talked about the need for it, they warmed up to it pretty quickly.”
Ts117 is located inside their building at 701 Scarboro Road. About 52,000 square feet of the building is filled by long-term tenants.
When they started developing the coworking space in March 2018, they wanted to build some hype for the project, so they painted the formerly red brick building black.
They renovated the bathrooms, upgraded the HVAC system and transformed the interior to create open spaces with lots of natural light.
Ts117 has about 30 hot desks, 30 offices of various sizes, and several comfy communal areas.
Rick is hoping for “creative collisions” in these areas, where entrepreneurs can meet, brainstorm and come together on future projects.
“We think if we get the kinks worked out here that this is an idea that could be used throughout the East Tennessee region and maybe other places as well,” Rick said.
“As soon as you walked in the door, I wanted people to see that this is a different space,” Rick said.
There are also two project rooms with separate entrances that could allow teams to draft contract proposals in private.
In addition, there is a raw 25,000-square-foot space that could be used for a wet lab or more office space.
Coworkers can pay a drop-in rate of $25 a day or can sign up for monthly hot desk memberships that start at $200 a month for two days of use per week. Designated office space rates start at $650 a month.
Members can reserve one of several conference rooms, utilize the hot desk space, kitchen, printers and coffee. They have 24/7 access to the building, which has generator-backed wifi with gigabit speeds.
Members can also utilize a cleaning service, thumbprint access vending area, and a secure package delivery system.