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25N Coworking cuts ribbon, gives tours

GENEVA – Until recently, architect Nanette Andersson worked out of a home office.

It was fine, she said, except for the at-home distractions. But these days, the wife of State Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva, has a turn-key office in Geneva’s newest business, 25N Coworking, 25 N. Third St.

“It is a real good opportunity for me,” Andersson said while attending the company’s ribbon-cutting and open house Thursday. “I just come in with my things and I can work out of here beautifully. You’ve got 24/7 access, so if I get inspired at 3 a.m., I can come here and start working. … This is taking my business to the next level.”

The co-working concept provides a professional environment for virtual employees, freelance workers and entrepreneurs to work, have meetings and network. Mara Hauser, founder of  25N Coworking, said after looking for the right location to establish a co-working site in the suburbs, this location in Geneva was the best.

“We found a jewel,” Hauser said.

The 25N Coworking site has 10,000 square feet as the anchor tenant in the former U.S. Bank building. Ashland Ventures LLC chairman Paul Kawalek, who owns the building, said his company invested more than $500,000 to renovate it.

The co-working site features private meeting rooms, desks, conference rooms – where whole walls are write-on wipe-off boards – private offices, a shower and an open area where members can eat and participate in twice-weekly events.

Even the old bank’s former vault is a conference room.

CASA Kane County is a member of 25N Coworking and uses one of its conference rooms for twice-a-week training sessions, Hauser said.

About 100 people attended the open house and tours.

Mayor Kevin Burns praised Hauser’s hard work to bring the co-working concept to Geneva.

“We thank you for ... your vision for bringing new light to North Third Street, and for having the stick-to-itiveness to be here today,” Burns said as the ribbon was cut.

Michael Olesen, owner of Stockholm’s, said he has watched the building’s transformation over the past few months as he’s walked between the restaurant and his other business as a financial advisor.

“I think it’s a wonderful, creative use of the space – something that has needed to be done here for a long time – and I think this is a fantastic opportunity,” Olesen said. “I really wish them well.”

Although he does not need the co-working service himself, Olesen said he can see its value.

“The nice thing is it’s going to bring more people downtown, who will then be around to utilize the other businesses and services of the downtown,” Olesen said. “I think it’s a win-win, not only for those looking for work space, but for the whole business community downtown.”

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