After The Beat Coffeehouse & Records in Emergency Arts closed in late September, some may have wondered what owners and Downtown trailblazers Michael and Jennifer Cornthwaite’s next project would be. They won’t have to wonder for long.
Proof of Concept is a coworking concept in a former law office bungalow at 623 S. 8th St., with individual and shared workspaces for small-business owners and freelancers that can also be used as a day and nighttime event venue. (The Cornthwaites are simultaneously working on opening a new bar within Downtown Cocktail Room that is tentatively slated to open this December.)
“It was a perfect storm of what was going on in our lives to make our investment,” Michael says, “I’m always looking for real estate.”
The Cornthwaites, who are used to managing “brain trusts” with the Emergency Arts artist collective, explain Proof of Concept as “boutique coworking,” meaning they curate a small group but deliver a higher level of service while allowing renters an inexpensive way to manage their businesses from a professional space. “In business, it’s always hard to get things started,” he says. “It doesn’t make sense to sign a five-year lease when you haven’t made money yet.”
The 1,200-or-so-square-foot house has been converted to offer six individual office spaces that have already been rented out. They installed attractive, dark hardwood floors and painted the walls white, creating a clean and airy atmosphere that includes a small kitchen for preparing freshly ground coffee. A private conference room in the former detached garage accommodates up to 18 people and can be used for private meetings or interviews. An outdoor semi-covered patio will offer additional cafe seating and a side yard has become home to the Beat’s picnic tables. There is also a back parking lot that fits 12 cars.
Tenants with private offices include social media marketing firm Crowd Siren, music producer Ryan Lofty, Daniella Villamil Interiors, Emily Wilson Photography, new hospitality company JMT and the Cornthwaites’ office for their Future Restaurant Group from which they operate Downtown Cocktail Room and other ventures. Proof of Concept also accommodates monthly members who can choose to work in the living room or on the patio with access to wifi, the kitchen and the ability to receive mail at the house. Memberships start at $200.
If you are interested in a membership at Proof of Concept, email Michael Cornthwaite at firstname.lastname@example.org.