The community’s artists, writers and entrepreneurs have expanding options to get grinding when it comes to coworking spaces in Logan Square. The newest space on the block is Ampersand (3317 W. Fullerton Ave.), a membership-based coworking space that opened in October 2017 by Owner and Community Manager Mari Nisi. Nisi, who also owns the mobile DJ company Toast and Jam, says she bought the building last April with her husband but didn’t intend to open a cowkoring space right off the bat. However, after the idea came from a friend, she jumped at it, excited to help give another space for local creators that represents the neighborhood vibe.
“Logan Square has a lot of creative, artistic types, so a lot of people work from home—they’re hustlers. Many are their own boss or [represent] the Chicago office for some cool start up in San Fransisco,” Nisi says.
The space is hosting its third free coworking event tomorrow, Jan. 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Nisi says there will be free snacks and coffee provided by Halfwit. The space’s sectioned areas of communal work tables in the front, private offices, a conference room and dedicated desks (for standing and sitting use) in the back offer many options for people to work.
Nisi says that she gets positive feedback of strong productivity in the space, compared to others that are more social and make it easier for people to lose focus. The social aspect is of course a part of Ampersand as well—especially on its 2,000 square foot deck for the warmer months—but the work balance is easy to juggle with the diverse rooms, Nisi says.
“We have a lot of spaces where people can escape from each other if they need to,” she says. “The vibe is peaceful and clean.”
With high-end comfy furniture, outdoor hammocks, secure storage, flexible seating plans and space for artists to show their work, Nisi laughs and says she thought of everything when designing the space with assistance from a designer.
She says the two free events in the past have seen good turnouts and she hopes that tomorrow’s event exceeds them. There are already a good amount of people registered, but those wishing to join the fun and get grinding in a fresh, new space need to register by emailing Nisi at [email protected]
Nisi says Ampersand helps keep the local economy turning and fueling the creativity of the locals. Located close to public transportation, the space has created lasting friendships and is a place where businesses like Collide, the radio app TuneIn and Lakeshore Resources—among others—have found a home.
“People don’t want to go downtown if they don’t have to,” Nisi says of the space’s location, which is just around the corner from her house. “Personally, I want Logan Square to get more vibrant from businesses owned by locals as opposed to get gentrified and [then locals have to] move out in 10 years.”
Ampersand joins other thriving coworking spaces in the neighborhood that are giving freelancers, graphic designers and artists of all kinds a productive haven and the chance to make more connections professionally and personally. Check them out below and bookmark these pages next time you need a fresh escape to work.
Second Shift (3432 W. Diversey Ave.)
Voted Chicago’s Best Coworking Place in 2017, the space was started by two friends with a love for collaboration and networking. Both owners have their own businesses, one being The Shift coworking space in Uptown. Second Shift is the relative of the aforementioned and provides ample room for different collaborative or solo business endeavors. It also hosts community events, like last year’s “Cross It Off event.”
The Logan Share (2864 N. Milwaukee Ave. 2nd floor)
The Logan Share aims to be the most distraction-free coworking space in Chicago, according to its site. In addition to all of the similar amenities as Second Shift and Ampersand, The Logan Share has showers for members to use after the morning bike ride or a workout session.