Okay, let’s float these as trial balloons.
First, in the Dennis Port Village Center, General Commercial II, and West Dennis Village Center I am thinking we might want to add the following as an Allowed Use:
Collaborative Workspace – shared space for those looking to lease a work area and have access to a shared pool of amenities, like conference rooms, office supplies, and internet and tech connections. Facilities provide space for networking, events, working alone or with others, pop-up shops, and workshops. Collaborative Workspaces may include services such as retail sales, food services, facilities for professional office, light manufacturing, research and development, common storage, packing, and distribution. Such facilities encourage business collaboration and provide opportunities for product aggregation, information sharing, and partnering on events and market promotion.
The Economic Development Committee has been kicking this around some time as part of the Exit 9 Economic Center. Long before the television show Alex, Inc. came out an put these types of spaces into a more public view.
In the three areas discussed above, we have vacant commercial floor space that might be attractive for reuse in this fashion. Imagine, start-up space for quilters (happening int he Holyoke Innovation Center), 3-D printing services, podcasts (yes that is part of Alex, Inc. but also part of the Holyoke Innovation Center long before the television show). Videographers, computer specialists, marketing start-ups all under one roof. This might be just what we need to put into the long-vacant space in Dennis Port Plaza.
Second, to solve some of our housing needs, and attract young people to town who might be able to take advantage of the Collaborative Workspace, I want to float the same idea to create new living arrangements that could supplant the “lodging house” concept for some group living accommodations. So, here are my thoughts, borrowing from the above and verbiage used elsewhere in the country:
Collaborative Living Space – Residential dwelling for those looking to share accommodations for economic or lifestyle reasons. and have access to a shared pool of amenities, like wi-fi, cable television, internet and tech connections, housekeeping service, trash removal, etc. Collaborative Living Space shall not be subject to the limitations found in the definition of Lodging House.
For a while I have been wrestling with a number of issues that this could resolve. One is finding a residential adaptive reuse for some of our larger antique homes scattered around town. This could allow a shared living entity, such as WeLive or Common, to acquire a house, restore it, and have it lived in by younger residents. The second is simply finding easily attainable, entry-level housing for our high-school and college graduates to be able to remain on, or return to, Cape Cod.
The need for this as part of the housing solution can be found in today’s Cape Cod Times (Youth outreach expanded in annual Cape homeless count) “Finding affordable housing on the Cape can pose a particular challenge to young people just starting out in entry-level jobs….”
Posted to both the Dennis Economic Development Blog and the Planning Department Blog for maximum exposure. Sorry if you get two notices about this.