Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ten Below: Business co-working space ready to roll in Ely

New facility will offer an ‘office away from the office’

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 5/10/18

ELY – A business co-working space, called the Ten Below Project, is set to open this spring in Ely.

Richard Stuart, manager of the facility, housed in the lower level of the Klun Law Firm, is …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Ten Below: Business co-working space ready to roll in Ely

New facility will offer an ‘office away from the office’

Posted

ELY – A business co-working space, called the Ten Below Project, is set to open this spring in Ely.

Richard Stuart, manager of the facility, housed in the lower level of the Klun Law Firm, is “an office away from the office” for local business people and even tourists to gain access to high-speed internet access in an office environment.

Stuart updated the Ely Economic Development Authority on the project this week. Without looking to take away any of the business at local coffee shops that have wireless internet access, he stressed the option of having a co-working space in a more business-like atmosphere.

“Statistics show that within three to four years, almost 50 percent of young entrepreneurs will be working outside of the traditional 9-5 office environment,” Stuart said. “They will be working from home offices or other co-working spaces. This is our opportunity to get ahead of the curve and see how this proof of concept can meet the needs of Ely.” He said, anecdotally, the concept has been a “smash” as he spread the word about the new facility around town this spring.

Furniture for the facility was delivered two weeks ago and the high-speed internet (as much as 100 mb upload and download) is being installed this week, according to Stuart

A Ten Below Project user will be to use the space one time for free and be able to work in a quiet office-like environment and have access to printers, copy machines and other office equipment. “We will have one-day, five-day and 10-day passes available to purchase in addition to an unlimited-use monthly pass,” he said. “The user will actually gain access by just holding their phone up to the door.”

User logs showing time spent, systems used and other information will provide facilitators with a better idea on how the space is being utilized so the space can be tailored to grow as the usage grows.

An open house is planned for Thursday, May 31 at the Ten Below Project facility. “We are on time and under budget,” Stuart told the EEDA. “Marketing efforts will kick in in a week or so to get the word out.”

Ely economic advisor John Fedo praised the business development concept for Ely. “This has been a long-term wish of the EEDA and the realization that this is coming to life is really exciting.”

Stuart said that in planning and preparing the Ten Below Project, he visited many like-minded spaces around the state. “I was floored to learn the types of people using the space, and that is folks of all walks of life,” he said.

Fedo stressed the importance of welcoming Ely visitors and tourists to use the space. “This is another opportunity when visiting the area.

Broadband feasibility

EEDA members received the final draft of study by Design Nine, of Blacksburg, Va., that is part of a broadband feasibility survey in the Ely area to find out how satisfied businesses and residents are with the existing Internet service and what is needed in the community to fulfill the communication technology needs in the future.

The overwhelming need for improved internet service prompted Design Nine to provide a draft analysis of how broadband can be provided to users in the city of Ely and the surrounding area through a pilot program utilizing both fiber and wireless technologies and systems.

The downtown area focused for the pilot project runs from Third Avenue East to 12th Avenue West. There will be a loop on both sides of Sheridan Street to provide fiber connection to many of the 98 percent of businesses in the survey that said they need better connectivity. Existing fiber in the ground would be utilized for this phase of the project. A tower located near the Trezona Trail parking lot area would feed antennae to Sandy Point to service north shore residents on Shagawa Lake, and another by Olson Bay. “Underground fiber near Schaffer Road would feed another antenna to provide wireless service across Burntside Lake.

Jack Maytum of Design Nine provided cost estimates of the project. Both underground (about $584,000) and aerial (about $365,000) fiber deployment are being considered for the downtown area.

A wireless network, to gain access to more remote areas, would consist of a network of as many as six towers for internet access to the north and west of Ely, including the Winton area and Shagawa and Burntside lakes. Based on using 100-foot wooden poles, the estimated cost per pole and equipment is $57,542.

Additionally, the cost of providing downtown wireless access is estimated at $53,475.

Maytum also provided a list of strategies to be considered to bring the broadband concept to reality including: forming a broadband co-op to pool funds to take control of the economic future of the project; and making ordinance and city planning changes for easier and less-expensive infrastructure investments. Use of wooden poles where feasible, inexpensive fiber drop boxes and nano-cellular service where feasible should also be considered.

Look for a more detailed analysis of the Design Nine Broadband Study in a future edition of the Timberjay.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment