Coworking hub for entrepreneurs opening in Harrisonburg
Staunton Innovation Hub co-founder opening second hub
The brains behind the Staunton Innovation Hub are working on bringing a new hub to a new city: the $4.5 million Harrisonburg Innovation Hub is expected to open in late 2023, investors and partners announced Tuesday.
Harrisonburg “has a very vibrant and growing startup ecosystem in place already, and there’s just a need for it there. And so, that need, coupled with finding a really cool building that’s in a great location, it just fit well with what we like to do,” said Staunton Innovation Hub co-founder and co-owner Peter Denbigh.
A partnership of investors, HIH LLC, closed on the 26,500-square-foot Wetsel Seed building in downtown Harrisonburg in late October for $2.88 million. The group plans to renovate it to create up to 60 private offices, coworking spaces, spaces for anchor tenants who will sign multiyear agreements, rooftop event space and an AV production studio with video and podcast equipment. The hub also will offer programming, including networking events and informational sessions for entrepreneurs.
The management group wants the project to be an economic engine for the Shenandoah Valley, Denbigh said.
“We hope that we can bring some anchor members to the Harrisonburg Innovation Hub that bring jobs to the area,” he said, “because Harrisonburg has a bunch of talent, it’s a great place to live, and so, if we can be a satellite location, if we can be a new office, etc., for a Northern Virginia company, a Richmond company, Charlottesville company, that sort of thing, that’s really our hope.”
The Harrisonburg project has been in development for almost a year. Although Denbigh and Director Hannah Cooper will be involved in both hubs, the Harrisonburg location will be managed by Innovation Management Corp., an entity separate from the Staunton hub management.
The Staunton location grew over three years to its current 30,000-square-foot footprint in two buildings. It houses more than 110 businesses, including the nonprofit Shenandoah Community Capital Fund and professional services firm Hantzmon Wiebel LLP.
Pendleton Community Bank is the financing partner for the hub, and the architect is Eugene Stoltzfus Architects.