The exterior of Fulton Commons – located on Fulton St. in Pittsburgh’s Manchester neighborhood. Photo Credit: Fulton Commons
Pittsburgh has its fair share of coworking, shared art studios, and communal kitchen spaces, but brothers Brian and Irwin Mendelssohn want to widen the understanding of what it means to be a co-working space, but combining all three under one roof. Fulton Commons, set to open in the North Side’s Manchester this fall, will host a kitchen incubator, coworking space, and art studio.
Why the triple play?
“Our hope is that by interacting with folks doing interesting things, members will form a tangible community, not just a run of the mill workspace,” explains Irwin Mendelssohn.
It’s an ambitious undertaking, but it’s not the brother’s first large project. The duo is behind Lawrenceville’s beloved Row House Cinema and Bierport, as well as residential, retail, and office developments in Pittsburgh.
It was through their events at Row House that the Mendelssohns credit getting to know many members of the small business community. From bakers and artists to freelancers and chefs, they began to realize that bringing these groups together could help foster their growth and create a unique community of creators. “We’re excited to apply the lessons that we’ve learned across businesses to this new project,” Irwin explains.
Housed in a space that was formerly St. Joe’s elementary school, the brothers knew they’d found the right space for their vision after walking into the cafeteria, which will now house the food incubator. “The property really spoke to us,” says Irwin.
Visitors will find touches of the former school in the news space’s design, including old classroom doors used as office doors, with a portion of the coworking space paying homage to the schoolhouse style of the original 1940s building.
Fulton Common’s lower floors will hold the 7,000 square foot kitchen space and artist studios. An entire upper floor is dedicated to coworking, with communal and private office spaces.
Part of the benefit of having artists, small business owners, and restaurants in a single space is the collaboration it’ll encourage, as well as the growth the Mendelssohns want it to inspire. For example, kitchen users have a flex membership and can rent conference rooms. “We don’t want them taking meetings around their stove,” jokes Irwin.
Fulton Kitchen members will have access to individual prep stations, cooking equipment, storage, coworking space, conference rooms, and business services. Earlier this summer, the Mendelssohns launched a Kickstarter for additional funds to build out the kitchen. While unsuccessful in reaching its funding goal, they intend to continue building out the kitchen with new equipment and space as they grow. If you’re looking to take your culinary creations on the road, Fulton Commons also offers memberships for food trucks. Kitchen memberships start at $650/month.
In addition, the coworking space’s cafe will stock food from the kitchens. It’s with that kind of symbiosis that Fulton Commons wants to foster in a new type of coworking.
That’s not to say some traditional coworking elements aren’t at play. Members of the coworking space can choose from communicable access, desks or private office memberships. A community membership starts at $125/month. Artists can reserve partitioned space in the open studio area. Artist studios start at $350/month.
Another element Fulton Commons is hoping to make a splash is with its unique design. Instead of the classic coworking aesthetic, the brothers are creating a variety of designed spaces. The spaces range from lively to relaxed, Iwrin says. Inspiration includes vibrant 1920s Miami, the cinematic sets of Wes Anderson, the classics-filled library, and the school-house 1940s look.
From the dynamic playground of mixing communities, to the thematic feels of the eras gone by, the space won’t just be the backdrop to your next Instagram picture, but a unique blend of ideals driving through the common goal to get work done. As Fulton Commons grow, new elements have a chance to enter the fray such as incubation services & workshops for all members.
For more information on memberships and events, visit Fulton Commons’ website.
EMMA DIEHL – Contributing Writer
Emma is a Pittsburgh-based technology and lifestyle writer, covering everything from machine learning in law enforcement to historic building preservation. Her byline has appeared on XOJane, NPR, Huffington Post, NEXTPittsburgh, and Very Local.
Originally published on Thursday, August 22nd, 2019