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University Resources Make This Small Midwest Town Perfect For Companies Seeking Research, Talent And Quality Office Space

Carr Workplaces @ Convergence

Companies looking for office space have many details they factor into their decision — amenities, location, nearby attractions — but few factors are more important than access to a wide pool of talent. 

Coworking spaces got their start in large U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles and Boston, where enterprises and startups alike usually choose to set up headquarters or satellite offices. But West Lafayette, Indiana, has one thing those cities don’t: Purdue University and its wide pool of talent, access to research facilities and a vision for a new kind of live, work, play and learn environment. 

“West Lafayette is a small community where you wouldn’t normally see a coworking space, but it’s actually the perfect home for one,” Carr Workplaces General Manager Ethan Kingery said. “Thanks to Purdue University, you have incredible access to talent and research and development teams, along with university staff who go out of their way to create a warm, welcoming environment that gives businesses unprecedented access to the school.” 

Carr Workplaces has teamed up with the Purdue Research Foundation to create a new type of coworking center, Carr Workplaces @ Convergence, which is part of Purdue’s new Discovery Park District. The massive mixed-use development features coworking spaces, luxury apartments, restaurants, life sciences facilities and aerospace facilities that are home to Zucrow Labs, the nation's largest university propulsion laboratory. 

Carr Workplaces @ Convergence is home to a wide range of companies from IdentifySensors, a company building a platform for nanosensor applications, to Beck’s Hybrids, a family-owned and operated seed company. There is also Zorion Medical, a medical device company, Wabash National, a leader of engineered solutions for the transportation, logistics and distribution industries, and more. 

Brad Fruth, director of innovation at Beck’s Hybrids, said that having a deep relationship with Purdue University is important to the company’s agriculture business.

“With Purdue University being the leading agriculture land grant university in Indiana, having access to the professors, researchers and students are a part of our success,” Fruth said. “Having access to researchers and professors has helped our internal Innovation projects when we need an opinion from a domain expert.” 

He added that being close to the Purdue University campus through his office space at Carr Workplaces means his team can quickly interact with the students, which is especially important since the company is always looking for the next generation of high-quality talent to join the team.  

PRF’s vision for the Discovery Park District was to create a live, work, play, learn environment where companies could set up permanent or temporary offices and tap into Purdue University’s pool of talented students and world-class research and development. To accomplish this, the team knew it would need an established coworking partner to manage its workspace. A Carr Workplaces client and Purdue University graduate who was considering moving her business closer to her alma mater knew that PRF was looking for a partner and told her contacts at Carr Workplaces to reach out. 

“It was such a great, organic way to start a business relationship,” Carr Workplaces Chief Operating Officer Ashley Buckner said. “Developing educational opportunities through community outreach is one of the tenets of our brand and we loved the vision for the DPD. It has all the elements we would look for in a new location in Chicago or San Francisco, with the added benefit of access to an amazing university.” 

Emell LLC provides technology consulting and implementation services to help companies pilot, expand and mature their artificial intelligence and data analytics programs. The company’s president and founder, Pavan Inabathini, said he chose to move his company’s headquarters to the Discovery Park District because it has the best infrastructure and ecosystem for innovation, a top-notch engineering program, a strong relationship with the PRF and unparalleled access to talent. 

“Small businesses like mine can get high-quality office space at a price fit for purpose at the PRF facilities like Carr Workplaces @ Convergence,” Inabathini said. “I am working on a project that needs top engineering talent and being close to Purdue University, I was able to hire exceptional engineering talent who could work part time while they are taking classes. In return, I wanted to cut down their valuable commuting time.” 

Buckner said that before Carr Workplaces at Convergence, large companies would come to Purdue University to meet and recruit students, and there would be no place nearby for them to set up shop, not even a hotel conference room. Now, they can come to Carr Workplaces and be greeted by 20K SF of private offices, drop-in workspace and meeting rooms, floor-to-ceiling windows, event spaces and 5G technology infrastructure, all within walking distance of the Purdue University campus. 

“We’re the corporate front door to Purdue University,” Kingery said. “Anyone who wants to come to campus short- or long-term, their first step would be Carr Workplaces.” 

He added that Carr Workplaces @ Convergence has space for large companies for training, special projects or satellite offices, space to pop into town to meet with a researcher or interview a student, and space for smaller companies looking for a collaborative environment to start an idea or grow their brand. 

“This has worked out great for Purdue University, our members and us,” Buckner said. “Purdue University is currently working with major companies like Saab and General Electric. In New York or Chicago, we would be competing with several other coworking companies to land these big-name tenants. But if you want to be in West Lafayette and have access to the world-class talent and research happening at Purdue University, we’re your option.” 

This article was produced in collaboration between Carr Workplaces and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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