ABOVE: E|SPACES President Jon Pirtle stands in one of the new location’s several places that afford a view of downtown Franklin. // JOHN MCBRYDE
By JOHN MCBRYDE
Within the exposed beams, the bare drywall and the carpenters dust that are still part of the 231 Public Square project in downtown Franklin, there is something of an oasis.
Or it certainly seemed like one Wednesday night as E|SPACES celebrated the upcoming opening of its new location on the Franklin square with a preview party that provided visitors food, drinks and grand tours of the 10,800-square-foot, third-floor business. It’s pushing for a Feb. 1 opening, according to E|SPACES President Jon Pirtle.
“I live in Franklin, so that helped,” Pirtle said when asked what attracted E|SPACES to downtown Franklin. The company also has a location in Cool Springs, as well as in Belle Meade and Chattanooga.
“I’ve known Bernie Butler (the original developer and one of the investors) and those guys for a long time. Bernie approached me about it probably a year or year-and-a-half before I committed to this. We had a place already in Cool Springs, so I wasn’t sure. But the more I started looking at it, I realized [it made sense]. …
“I think we can really get a lot of downtown Franklin businesses.”
E|SPACES Franklin offers work and meeting space for entrepreneurs, teams, companies and those who work remotely. Work areas are available for as little as $400 a month and a variety of meeting rooms can accommodate up to 16 people (available for hourly rental).
E|SPACES members get access to a range of amenities including free parking, Wi-Fi, coffee and snacks, printing and an IT helpdesk. Office windows have views covering all angles of downtown Franklin, and those views of the city all lit up for Christmas elicited plenty of oohs and ahhs Wednesday night.
One space that Pirtle pointed out illustrates how E|SPACES will literally knock down walls to get or keep business.
“This is a two-person office,” he explained. “But these walls are what we call dirt walls, and we can actually put them down in an hour. So if a company started here with just two people and they grew to eight to 10 people, we can actually knock down walls and they can all stay in the same space.
“That used to be an issue. We’d have companies that would start with us and they’d outgrow us. We didn’t want to lose anybody and they didn’t want to leave us, so we kind of learned how to do that.”
First Tennessee Bank will also occupy space in the 231 Public Square building, as it did in the previous building on the same site. In addition, Ruby Sunshine, an all-day breakfast restaurant, announced in early December it will move into the building as well. There are also plans for a rooftop restaurant, but specifics have yet to be announced.