by Mindy Keskinen
Since last fall, the co-working and meeting venue known as CoCreatz has quietly become an indispensable asset at the corner of University and Raymond avenues in St. Paul.
Now the team behind CoCreatz has announced its official grand opening the week of June 24-28. Events will include an open-house party, a reception for Ward 4 St. Paul city councilmember Mitra Jalali Nelson—who holds office hours there—and even a meet-and-greet with exotic fauna from Twin Cities Reptiles. Plus, there is free co-working each day: Try it out. Details at CoCreatz.org.
For a quieter tour before or after that week, stop by any weekday 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. to see the variety of meeting spaces and co-working, or shared working space options. Or mingle at an open house every Tuesday, 4:30-6 p.m.
A prime spot
The CoCreatz venue is the brainchild of a four-member team that leased the space in 2018, after the departure of the former first-floor tenant. Three of the team are neighbors in St. Anthony Park: Sherman Eagles, Michael Russelle, and Pat Thompson. The fourth is Dan Nordley of Minneapolis, who moved his design firm, Triangle Park Creative, into a nook at CoCreatz.
“This corner is a prime spot, and we saw a chance to turn it into a community crossroads,” Eagles said. “It fills several needs. South St. Anthony Park has a shortage of meeting rooms for business, social, and arts events. And there are freelancers in the area who need co-working space—not only for basic office services, but also for the collaborative potential.”
The CoCreatz location is ideal for that. Midway between downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul, CoCreatz is housed in the fully accessible first floor of 2388 University, a century-old building half a block from the Green Line’s Raymond Station. A business and nonprofit hub, the area is also at the heart of St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone; in fact, the nonprofit CEZ has its office space at CoCreatz. Other regular users are the St. Anthony Park Community Council, the BiPOC Project, the Social Impact Strategies Group, and the local investment club Local Dough.
A home for climate action
Transition Town—ASAP also meets at CoCreatz on the fourth Thursdays at 7 p.m.: all are welcome. The group is active throughout the neighborhood, too. At the St. Anthony Park Arts Festival in June, Transition Town representatives attracted 150 people to “Make a Postcard for the Planet.” Visitors used paints and markers to show their favorite climate solutions: windmills and solar panels, buses and bicycles, gardens and pollinators. They added a personal message—many supporting a Green New Deal—then addressed the postcards to local and state politicians. A display of the postcards will be on view at CoCreatz, now through July.
Flexible spaces and options
CoCreatz also has a year-round gallery wall for Twin Cities artists, currently provided by Dow Gallery. “And soon we’ll have artwork at the entrance to our CoVault,” Pat Thompson said, referring to the hideaway behind a bank-vault door, which dates back to the building’s early days as Twin Cities National Bank. Graphic design intern Débora Zoa is working on an image to bring the vault a new life.
Larger meeting spaces at CoCreatz hold from four to 30 people, and dedicated desks and floating co-working areas are available at a range of prices. Perks include free fair-trade coffee, big-window views with morning sun, and office amenities like photocopying. “New ideas need old buildings,” Thompson said, echoing writer Jane Jacobs. “We want CoCreatz to be a place where people come together and solve problems they didn’t even know they were working on.”