Bob Geolas has a new response to the naysayers that call Research Triangle Park old-fashioned and dead, those who doubt his high hopes to attract creatives and entrepreneurs to work in the park.

That response: Free work and meeting space and a cafe inside the largest open innovation center in the nation. It’s called The Frontier and it opens January 15, 2015. Here’s a sneak peek inside the building.

Geolas, the park foundation’s CEO, envisions the center as a beta test site, where entrepreneurs and investors, engineers, artists, writers and others from around the state can experiment with new mediums, business models and technologies. Beyond the first floor lobby and free workspace, plans are in place to offer affordable, non-binding private offices (starting at $300/month), studio space for visual and graphic artists, a writer’s community and eventually a makerspace. Many events will happen at The Frontier, including the Jan. 12 ExitEvent Startup Social, and partnerships with entities like HQ Raleigh, American Underground and all of the local universities will lead to educational programming.

“We’re not trying to create new startup space,” says Geolas. “We have a good environment for that. The concept is to simply open 120,000 square feet of space and invite a diverse group of organizations to be our new pioneers in the Frontier.

The Frontier will take over one of eight vacant 1970s and 80s-era buildings in Research Triangle Park’s Park Center, which the foundation acquired a year ago as part of its vision of changing the park’s culture, adding 24/7 features like apartments, a hotel and restaurants and inviting everyone to be involved in its remaking.

The Frontier’s building at 800 Park Center is the first renovation. With a price tag of at least $500,000, it includes modern furniture, a bar (with kegerator and coffee station), a living room area, co-working tables and walls coated with large graphics of unexplored mountain ranges and open fields. It also will be one of the first buildings in the Triangle to have one-gigabit-per-second Internet speeds thanks to a partnership with Frontier Communications. RTP staff members Jacob Newbauer and Anna Rhyne will manage the space and host the events.

For the full story, visit ExitEvent.

Note: ExitEvent is a news partner of WRAL TechWire.