Next Manufacturing in West Greenville finished its first round of renovations and welcomed its pioneer tenants to the niche co-working space early this year. Its first phase transformed 20,000 square feet of abandoned warehouse into a gleaming, white-walled canvas, already 70 percent leased.
The second phase will cover the remaining 15,000 square feet at 400 Birnie St., preceded by a grand opening in early March.
“The goal is to create a space and environment for high-potential manufacturers… and support them as they grow and hopefully build corporate headquarters here,” said project developer Russ Braasch, who hopes to partner with local firms and schools to make the project a true community asset.
The first three tenants include a new division of Master Power Transmission, South Carolina technology firm Hoowaki, and the first site for Greenville-based makers group Synergy Mill. Braasch predicts six to seven initial tenants for the first phase, and hopes the variety of firms will use the space to share ideas and bolster an innovative community.
“We could do one to three tenants, which would make leasing easy, but that’s not the idea,” he said. The mission dovetails with the business model as well, he says, as the first phase “has to be fully leased to break even,” he said. “We’re in good shape. We’re confident in the mission.”
The first phase covered process utilities, the HVAC system, renovated restrooms, new heaters, shoring up building structure, installing a security system with video cameras and key fobs, building-wide wireless Internet, polished concrete floors and putting up dividing walls. Braasch also installed a glass table using metal beams found in one of the building’s storage bays and brought in clean-lined furniture to accent the space. The second phase will cover the remaining 15,000 square feet, and will start with scraping paint off of 330 windowpanes in the ceiling well to provide natural light.
*This article has be edited to reflect the project as Next Manufacturing.
Tenants will have access to the city and Swamp Rabbit Trial by bike along Birnie Street, which will soon include bike shared-lane markings (“sharrows,”) sidewalks, street beautifications such as trees, and a gateway sign for West Greenville.