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Connect and collaborate: New co-working lounge opens in Old Sawmill District

The Old Sawmill District unveiled its plans for the C3 WorkLounge in January during the Hellgate Venture Network’s monthly social. The lounge, the first of its kind in Missoula, opened this month. (Courtesy photo)

A new co-working lounge tucked in Cambium Place at the Old Sawmill district marked its official opening this month, offering start-ups and entrepreneurs room to “connect, create and collaborate.”

The three Cs are behind the official C3 WorkLounge title.

“The business is modeled around shared desks, private offices and meeting rooms in an open, interactive and social environment,” said Ed Wetherbee, one of the district’s developers. “C3 will be a space that allows for innovation and creative collaboration of business people and freelancers.”

The Old Sawmill District unveiled its plans for the C3 WorkLounge in January during the Hellgate Venture Network’s monthly social. Back then, Cambium Place was still under construction, and the work lounge was still an esoteric vision.

Wetherbee said co-working remains a new term that’s often associated with greater team productivity and innovation – traits that results in a collaborative work environment.

“It’s integral to our Tech Campus opportunity,” Wetherbee said. “Dedicated desks and office space, along with open seating options, are available in a membership-style business design.”

The product closely resembles a concept created by WeWork, a national company that leases office buildings and divides them into smaller parcels, where those looking to conduct business can set up shop for a monthly membership.

Co-working offices have become common in larger cities, and they’re especially popular among Millennials, which Forbes described as being resistant to the corporate mentality and the 9 to 5 office routine.

Wetherbee said the lounge is positioned to capture the “explosive tech environment” in Missoula, which ranked 9th in the nation for startup and high-tech businesses, according to the Kauffman Foundation.

The lounge includes two large conference rooms, phone booths, a copy center, and complimentary local coffee, tea and microbrew. It also includes a kitchen with a custom bar, cabinets and local artwork.

The lounge is available by membership and is staffed Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A ribbon cutting is planned for Oct. 31 at 4:30 p.m.