DAVIDSON – Flywheel Coworking is just one of several tenants already signing on to utilize space at Davidson College’s new entrepreneurial hub, which isn’t set to officially open until July.

The college, which sits at the edge of Lake Norman near the Mecklenburg-Iredell County border and is just 70 minutes from Flywheel’s Winston-Salem Coworking facility in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, will be the site of Flywheel’s second facility. It will be based in the college’s newly designed Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College, abbreviated as The Hurt Hub@Davidson.

Rocus Networks already calls The Hurt Hub its home.

The partnership between the highly regarded academic institution and the young coworking community replicates Flywheel’s successful pilot community in Winston-Salem. The Flywheel model will translate well to The Hurt Hub@Davidson, said Peter Marsh, Flywheel’s cofounder. “It’s exciting to bring that model to a special place like Davidson.”

By blending the academic community, the business community, and the startup community, the programs that can be offered in the space can yield impressive outcomes as a result of the concentration and colocation of motivated entrepreneurs and innovative students, said Marsh. “This space allows us to concentrate all of the programming that will help the Lake Norman entrepreneurial community accelerate.”

The 23,000 square foot building, a renovated finishing mill in the Davidson Cotton Mill complex, will undergo very minor structural changes and major interior design updates to become what its backers say will be a state-of-the-art innovation facility just two blocks from the heart of Davidson College’s campus, steps from downtown Davidson, and within Davidson’s central business district.

“It’s important for us to stay connected to the Charlotte startup community,” said Julie Goff, chief evangelist for the Jay Hurt Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, “But we also need to bring entrepreneurial opportunity to this part of the county.”

Dividing up The Hurt Hub’s space

Flywheel will operate a coworking innovation space, private office suites, and a social commons area that totals 9,700 square feet. Two anchor companies, cybersecurity firm Rocus Networks and software engineering firm Quoin, Inc., already occupy finished office suites in the building’s original sales office and showroom. The remaining square footage is being transformed into the Van Deman Innovation Lab, which will house the College’s innovation, entrepreneurship, and emerging technology programs.

Hurt Hub will include a beverage bar.

“I am really looking forward to the shared space in The Hurt Hub,” said VersaMe cofounder John Boggiano The company is one of several that have already contracted for space at Flywheel. “I am excited for more day-to-day interaction with other similar stage companies.”

Davidson College purchased the building in 2014, said Goff. After administrators led a year-long listening tour to brainstorm and vet feasible ideas for the building, the College decided to pursue an innovation center.

“We see real value for Davidson students in combining campus and community,” said Raechelle Clemmons, chief information office for Davidson College, “Students can extend their educational experience by working alongside and learning from our region’s entrepreneurs.”

Davidson College alumni investments paved the way for the project to come to fruition. Alumnus and business leader Jay Hurt, Davidson College Class of 1988, committed $5 million to support innovation and entrepreneurship efforts through the refurbished building. A $1 million gift from the CEO of Financial Navigator, Inc., Ed Van Deman, Davidson College Class of 1998, and his wife Dr. Nancie Fimbel allowed the college to build the Van Deman Innovation Lab.

The Hurt Hub@Davidson is a first-of-its-kind facility for a liberal arts college designed to serve and connect students, faculty, alumni, and the region’s innovation community, said Clemmons. “We believe the region is strengthened by the entrepreneurial ecosystem that we hope to convene and catalyze at The Hurt Hub.”

The building is set to open on July 1, 2018, though The Hurt Hub@Davidson will welcome the community to a series of open house events as construction is finished. They will take place on Thursday, March 15, Thursday, April 19, and Thursday, May 17, from 5–8 p.m. at 210 Delburg Street.