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Lt. governor’s field trip takes her to coworking spaces downtown

October 10, 2019 : Greenfield Recorder, by Melina Bourdeau

GREENFIELD – Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visited two coworking spaces in the city Thursday as part of research for the next economic development plan for the Baker-Polito Administration.

Another Castle and Greenspace CoWork were two recipients of the state’s Collaborative Workspace Program funding in 2017. Greenspace received $101,782 in grant funding and Another Castle, $33,000.

“We’re visiting places like these will help us crystallize ideas around how to help the start-up community and the tech community have access to what you need for infrastructure and space and connected to talent to grow your ideas into a commercial business,” Polito said. “That could grow into more jobs, and those jobs are evident in a region like this. It attracts more people to connect to these jobs and connect to the community. We need to learn from you about the things that are working and try to do more of that — and the barriers or stumbling blocks to remove to help people do things like this.”

Another Castle is a coworking space located on Olive Street for designers of augmented reality, virtual reality and 3-D games — in a space that until about 2018 housed the Franklin County Registry of Deeds.

Grant funding provided renovations like some locked spaces for members, as well as a projector screen and enhanced audio system for use as a presentation space.

Paul Hake, CEO of HitPoint and co-founder of Another Castle, and Pat King, HitPoint producer and Another Castle executive director, created the coworking space in an “under-utilized space,” according to Hake.

“Once Pat started (Pioneer Valley Game Developers Group) we realized the need for a space like this and began looking three years ago,” Hake said. “We wanted to find a place for HitPoint to land, too. The timing worked out where this place became available and it took off.”

Greenspace, located on the third floor of Hawks & Reed Performance Center, was co-founded by Jeremy Goldsher and his business partner Jeff Sauser to be open to people from marketing, education, fish farming and other fields.

Goldsher said the grant was the push the coworking space needed to get off of the ground.

“We knew we could make this work as a private business operationally, but the capital investment can be hard to figure out,” Goldsher said. “Having the MassDevelopment grant filled that gap so we could run from there. The grant allowed us to double the space (to 3,000 square feet.)”

The grant funded interior construction, Goldsher said, as well as office furniture, AV equipment and other installations and furnishings such as lighting and architecture fees for design and permitting support.

Goldsher added that members of Greenspace get a 50 percent discount on shows at Hawks & Reed and other creative ideas like that are possible in Greenfield.

“Greenfield has been a wonderful launchpad for all of the creative ideas we’ve wanted to bring forth. For me, as a local to Greenfield, it’s been a dream come true to realize spaces that I wished were here when I was young,” he said.

Polito was joined by Deputy Secretary for Housing and Economic Development Tim McGourthy, MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss and Franklin County Community Development Corporation Executive Director John Waite and Greenfield Mayor William Martin.

Liss said MassDevelopment supported the two businesses because “it was a great opportunity as part of coworking space. This is exactly what we were looking for – folks that are helping to provide places to work and supplying equipment. That’s really important for our economy.”

Martin added that he believed the area serves as an example, but it takes time for it to happen.

“As this keeps moving forward, the city will be able to add more startups and in less time than say a decade,” Martin said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have good relationships with the state government. They’ve always supported our initiatives. We’re showing them that we’ve spent our grant money well.”