Why Co-Working in Ballard?

a moment on the fifth floor, currently available for development. photo by alicia cram , dirigo capital advisors

a moment on the fifth floor, currently available for development. photo by alicia cram , dirigo capital advisors

(originally posted at 5:09pm, on www.dirigocapitaladvisors.com)

I will be the first to admit that I love a good challenge, so when faced with the opportunity to dream up a co-working center concept, I was intrigued, and admittedly terrified. My boss handed me an initial idea and floor plan and told me to run (life advice: if you ever find someone with unshakable faith in your capacity, hold on tight!). My passion for helping people, for understanding how businesses and communities work, and my competitive drive to produce something bigger than myself lead me down a path of statistics and studies... and endless pots of coffee.

What I found was, we already know there is a series of roadblocks in supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs in Maine. So, now we ask ourselves, “how do we solve the problem?”

Understanding the Call to Action

Augusta is home to the largest workforce in the area, with the City of Augusta reporting 59% of their population is currently employed in the workforce, 18% are under 18 years old, and 18% are above age 65. This means just 5% of the adult population is not currently employed!

The changing work landscape, including the rise of the millennial generation, now more than 54% of the workforce (Millennial Majority Workforce Study, 2015), presents a challenge for employers and businesses. As more people aim to work from home or remotely, some are faced with the challenge of distractions, equipment expenses, and overhead. By providing a cost-effective, and lifestyle conducive solution, BBC provides a service that meets the economic, and health needs of Maine’s workforce, while maintaining a stable business model.

Creating Something Sustainable for All

Americans work more than any other demographic. By providing a convenient, productivity minded space, BBC is differentiating itself by focusing on the specific needs of consumers on a larger scale, BBC asks, “how do we help you work productively, and enrich your life?” Ballard Business Center does this by providing gym access, showers, free parking, and placement in a community that is focused on businesses helping each other grow.

The business center model was adapted and adopted to solve a critical need in Central Maine. The mission of Ballard Busi­ness Center is to adapt with the modern workforce and allow for strategic growth, as individuals become the core of business and community. We exist to bridge the gap between median income and entrepreneurship, such that no office-based business is hindered by start-up cost.

57% of Augusta’s workforce makes less than $24,000.00 annually. The city has gathered significant data that shows Augusta’s citizens want to work, BBC is here to solve problems, and provide a cost-effective way to do so.

Monthly memberships include printing, scanning, wifi, workspace, conference space, gym use, showers and locker room, a kitchenette and food storage, free parking, and free coffee. This combination isn’t seen anywhere in Maine, and not ever before available to those demographics. Spaces are priced by privacy level: shared office, or private office. In some markets a low price may cause buyers to feel cautious, however, Augusta’s median income creates a call to action: A premiere space with premiere pricing isn’t viable in that market yet.

Redefining the structure of work

This concept is as literal as it is visceral. Ballard Business Center is a space where the need for flexibility, work-life balance, and convenience is met with modern amenity and ease of use.

The workforce is changing. In 2015 millennials were the largest demographic in the workforce and 79% would leave their jobs to work for themselves (Millennial Majority Workforce Study 2015).

BBC's combined amenities provide a one-stop space for people to create and deliver work that feels good. Ballard Business Center provides a space to adjust the physical and mental structure of how Maine produces work.

While one business center wont cure all of Maine’s ailments, what it will do is create a space for growth, for collaboration, and for community. While we open our doors as a beta-space, constantly changing, growing, and reacting to needs, we hope you will join us! We aim to accommodate to changing times, to attract entrepreneurs, and to encourage collaboration in the community.

For more information on the Millennial Majority workforce study, click here: http://www.elance-odesk.com/millennial-majority-workforce

 

Aly Cram is the Director of Operations for Dirigo Capital Advisors. Aly has worked in operations, branding, media, marketing, event production, sales, and service since 2009. When she isn’t chugging pots of coffee and bringing order to chaos a la the borg, she can be found cooking, spending time with her siblings, hiking, biking, traveling, or on the water. To contact Aly, email: alicia@dirigocapitaladvisors.com

Join us for our Ballard Business Happy Hour this Thursday

Join us for our Ballard Business Happy Hour this Thursday

We will be holding a complimentary business networking event on Thursday, November 10, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The event is free of charge for Augusta citizens, business people, policy makers and the media. Beverages will be on hand, and if anyone would like to “freshen up” their personal online profile, free professional photographs will be available from Knack Factory, a creative and strategic content production firm.

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Exterior Building Signs - Installation Underway

Building News: The Ballard Center is having exterior signs installed this week. The new building name signs will be located outside of the main lobby entrance facing East Chestnut Street and on the corner of Arsenal and East Chestnut Street. 

Thank you to MinuteMan Signs in Augusta, ME for designing and installing the Ballard Center signs. Follow the link to see what they could do for your business! 

 


The Ballard Center Welcomes Lithgow Library

Lithgow Library Temporarily Moves to Ballard Center

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Augusta, ME - The Ballard Center welcomes Lithgow Library in spring of 2015!

April 13th, 2015 Lithgow Library will temporarily close its current location .  Doors will open Mid-May, or earlier if possible at the Ballard Center. The Ballard Center is located at 6 East Chestnut Street in Augusta, ME. Lithgow will be located on the Lobby floor of the building and is expected to stay at the Ballard Center for about 18th months, or until renovations at original building are completed.

Lithgow will not only house their collection, but also host programs and events at the temporary Ballard location. Children’s programs, book discussion groups and other events will be held in the designated program space on lobby level. 

Parking at the Ballard Center is plentiful. Designated ADA accessible parking is conveniently located near the main lobby entrance and general parking is located on Arsenal Street. If parking in the Arsenal Street lot, patrons can enter at the Arsenal Street building entrance and follow directional signs to elevators and up to the main lobby floor. 

The library will be open at the Ballard Center Mon-Thurs 9am-8pm, Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-12pm. There will be an after-hours book drop located just outside of the main entrance, off the lobby level of the Ballard Center.

 

To stay up-to-date on the progress of Lithgow Library’s move to the Ballard Center check back to http://www.lithgow.lib.me.us and http://www.ballardcenter.com.

 

For more information or any inquires about available space for lease at the Ballard Center please email aclair@gmkcpm.com.

 

Glad to be helping Augusta with redevelopment

In case you missed this recent article by the KJ’s Keith Edwards, Ballard Center is trying to help out the City of Augusta by providing temporary space for the Lithgow Public Library, while that organization expands and renovates.

The Lithgow Public Library serves the Capital Area with a wide variety of services and programs. The library holds a collection of around 65,000 books, periodicals, and audiovisual items, along with access to millions of others through Maine InfoNet. A cultural, educational, and recreational focal point for the community, the library offers programming, access to electronic resources, and reference services for all. For more information about the library and its history, visit their web site HERE. The library opened in 1896.

Ballard Center’s chief executive officer, Kevin Mattson, said that helping the city in a pinch makes sense, since Ballard Center has the temporary capacity to do so.

“We think the library is a positive thing for Augusta. The city has been great. We’ve worked with them for a decade on development of these old hulking facilities, like the commerce center. Augusta has been the best community to develop in, in the state.”

For more details read the full article at the online Kennebec Journal AT THIS LINK.

Ballard Center catches eye of Bloomberg Businessweek

Over the weekend we were pleased to notice this article online, and we suspect Augusta taxpayers will especially like the following excerpts:

“The century-old building previously generated no tax revenue for the city, because it was owned by the nonprofit MaineGeneral Medical Center. Nonprofit groups don't have to pay property taxes.

“If investment and development of the property progresses as the developer estimates, at the end of the 20-year agreement, the property would be worth $27.6 million and its annual property tax bill would be around $500,000.

“Mattson has said the building could be home to as many as 1,000 jobs.”

Augusta taxpayers will get front row seats

Ballard Center will contribute to "a vibrant little section of town..."

Ballard Center will contribute to "a vibrant little section of town..."

As they well deserve. Ballard Center is being redeveloped from a tax-exempt to a tax-paying property, and we figure folks in the neighborhood will be pretty curious. The former MaineGeneral hospital complex sits on 20 acres of land in Augusta's East Chestnut Street neighborhood, and its 317,000 square feet present a formidable redevelopment challenge. Kevin Mattson, president of Dirigo Capital Advisors, said it is his company's responsibility to keep the community informed about progress at what many once feared would be a white elephant in Augusta's downtown district.

In this video published on May 9th, the developer gave the general public a brief behind-the-scenes glimpse of the redevelopment process. Using a variety of communications tools, Ballard Center will continue to keep Kennebec Valley residents informed about progress.

"I know how important this structure is to the history of Augusta and Kennebec Valley," Mattson said. "Nobody wanted to see it razed, and given its sheer immensity, I am pleased that more than half the space is already committed to future business tenants. It's going to be a vibrant little section of town."

Dirigo Capital Advisors (DCA) is a company with expertise in financial modeling, investor recruitment, large project planning, regulatory compliance, construction supervision and property asset management. It currently controls more than $200 million in commercial real estate in Maine. For more information about Dirigo Capital Advisors, visit www.DirigoCapitalAdvisors.com.

Sale very good sign for Augusta area

Montecito Medical Operating Company is one of the finest management companies of medical real estate in the United States....and they're now doing business in Augusta.

Montecito Medical Operating Company is one of the finest management companies of medical real estate in the United States....and they're now doing business in Augusta.

Last week the Kennebec Journal reported that a Dirigo Capital Advisors project, Lot 18, LLC, has been sold to an out of state company. The project, which enabled the construction in 2011 of the building that houses MaineGeneral’s Musculoskeletal Center at 15 Enterprise Drive in Augusta, is one of the city’s most visible commercial real estate success stories, situated as it is right along Route 27 with very close access to I-95. It’s a success story not just for the “Class A” building itself, but because of the national reputation that the facility has drawn to Augusta.

“The building was bought by Montecito Medical Operating Company, a national powerhouse specializing in the management, acquisition and development of hospitals and medical office building. Augusta is clearly on the map now with a national reputation in world-class healthcare facilities,” said Kevin Mattson, president of Dirigo Capital Advisors.

Additionally, as the KJ article explains, Montecito’s arrival in town will have a very positive ripple effect here in Augusta. Dirigo Capital Advisors can now devote a lot more time, energy and resources to redeveloping MaineGeneral’s former hospital campus in the city East Chestnut Street neighborhood, the “Augusta East” project.

“This I great news all around. Great timing, and great karma for continuing Augusta’s very strong redevelopment momentum,” Mattson said.

Mattson issues video progress report on Augusta East

CLICK ON IMAGE for Kevin Matsson's VIDEO REPORT about redevelopment progress at MaineGeneral's East Chestnut Street facility.

CLICK ON IMAGE for Kevin Matsson's VIDEO REPORT about redevelopment progress at MaineGeneral's East Chestnut Street facility.

(Augusta, Maine) Dirigo Capital Advisors (DCA), owner of the Augusta East redevelopment project in downtown Augusta, has launched a new project web site designed to keep the community informed about redevelopment progress at the East Chestunut Street campus of  MaineGeneral Health.

The web site, www.AugustaEast.com, will have periodic updates about redevelopment progress, and e-mail links to company management so that members of the public can express concerns or suggestions. DCA president Kevin Mattson published a YouTube video on the site today, announcing that MaineGeneral will complete is exodus from the Chestnut Street facility on November 10th, an event that will mark the first time in over 100 years that a hospital has not operated in that location. He said re-development of the property has already begun, and he promised more news “soon” about new tenants.

“This is such a complicated logistical operation, but it’s great that we’re already identifying new tenants,” Mattson said. “The great fear had been that this complex was going to be left empty, a white elephant that would have been a very tempting target for vandals. Instead, Augusta is witnessing a transition that, in my opinion, could not be going any more smoothly.”

Dirigo Capital Advisors (DCA) is a company with expertise in financial modeling, investor recruitment, large project planning, regulatory compliance, construction supervision and property asset management. It currently controls more than $200 million in commercial real estate in Maine, including large, iconic properties like the Central Maine Commerce Center in Augusta, Saco Island, MaineGeneral Health’s former Seton Unit in Waterville, 415 Congress Street in Portland, and MaineGeneral Health’s hospital campus in Augusta’s East Chestnut Street neighborhood, which is currently being redeveloped.

Let’s dream East Augusta’s future in technicolor

If Saco's revitalizing, we think Augusta certainly can!

If Saco's revitalizing, we think Augusta certainly can!

Is downtown redevelopment hard? You bet it is. Just ask downtown Biddeford-Saco, an area that for 25 years was plagued by odor from a trash-to energy plant right in the middle of town, on the banks of the Saco River. But the trash plant is finally gone, and that downtown area is now creating a much better future. This article, “Saco Island’s ALIVE with healthy, Maine-grown food!” shows how downtown Saco is totally redefining itself, and the article’s embedded video of a vibrant farmer’s market gives you a glimpse of just one imaginative idea for how to revitalize a downtown.

Saco Island’s redevelopment is being led by Augusta East’s parent company, Dirigo Capital Advisors. Augusta East intends to focus similar creative energy on the redevelopment of the former MaineGeneral campus in the city’s East Chestnut neighborhood.

We think Augusta’s timing is just right for catching the perfect wave, as described in this Portland Press Herald article earlier this year: “Communities see livable, walkable villages and downtowns as a way to attract younger urban-oriented residents, improve efficiency and support local commerce. The challenge in many places will be balancing decades of single-purpose design that depends on automotive transportation with the growing desire of Americans to get out of their cars and walk city streets.”

Augusta East’s redevelopment work is led by Kevin Mattson, an enthusiastic champion of Maine’s downtowns, as you can see for yourself in this video. Plans for redevelopment at Augusta East are in the very early stages. All good ideas are on the table, and welcome. Do you have a great suggestion? We encourage and invite them, info@AugustaEast.com!

“Augusta East” redevelopment project moves forward

MaineGeneral’s “old hospital building” is an extremely complex redevelopment project. In this video, developer Kevin Mattson has an important message for nearby residents. 

MaineGeneral’s “old hospital building” is an extremely complex redevelopment project. In this video, developer Kevin Mattson has an important message for nearby residents. 

(Augusta, Maine) Late in 2012, Augusta East Redevelopment Corporation, LLC announced that it had signed a purchase and sale agreement with MaineGeneral Health to buy and redevelop the organization’s physical property on East Chestnut Street. The sale price was $2.5 million. Today the company launched a revamped web site (on which this blog entry is published), giving Augusta residents a convenient way to keep informed about progress at the site adjacent to the Kennebec River in Augusta. Leading the project is commercial real estate developer Kevin Mattson. Today Mattson published a YouTube video, available at this link, in which he invites residents to submit their feedback in the coming weeks and months years as redevelopment proceeds.

MaineGeneral is leaving its former location because it is building a regional, 640,000 square-foot hospital on the west side of the city. When that project is complete and MaineGeneral’s operations move to the new $312 million hospital, one of Augusta’s largest building complexes would have been left vacant, had not a buyer stepped forward.

“This would have been, by far, the largest empty building in Augusta’s downtown, and we’re very excited to step up, redevelop the property, and make it a vibrant new addition to the city’s economy,” Mattson said in December, upon announcing purchase of the property. “I know a lot of folks were worried that the complex would be a white elephant once the hospital moves, but I think we and MaineGeneral have found a solution, and a very positive outcome.”