Tahoe Mountain Lab co-working space to open in renovated Tribune building Monday
What does the future economy of Tahoe’s South Shore look like? Tourism will no doubt remain in the driver’s seat. An increasingly global workforce working remotely, however, means some local business leaders are beginning to see the region’s potential for a different kind of economy — one capitalizing on a distinctly 21st century industry. With Reno’s tech sector growing and Silicon Valley’s cost of living continuing to rise through the roof, there’s hope among some parties that the Tahoe Basin could soon capitalize.
That notion is one of the driving forces behind Tahoe Mountain Lab, a co-working space which originally opened on Ski Run Boulevard in 2014.
The company will officially open the doors to its new building — formerly owned by the Tahoe Daily Tribune — on Monday, May 16. The Tribune remains on site, but its offices were moved to a new space in the back of the building — formerly home to the paper’s warehouse and printing press — last December. The paper is currently printed at a facility in Carson City.
“It’s really exciting,” company co-founder Jamie Orr said. She and her husband, David, originally formed the Mountain Lab with partner Jesse Walker, before buying out Walker and partnering with longtime South Shore residents Bernard and Cristi Creegan on the expanded space.
“We’ve seen a lot of revitalization in the tourist area, but this is revitalization in terms of the business community,” Jamie Orr added.
The new space designed for both short-term remote workers and established businesses is six times larger than Tahoe Mountain Lab’s original building on Ski Run, and it will have quadruple the capacity for workers.
Up to 24 businesses can occupy individual private offices with additional space for around 30 shorter-term or day-use remote workers.
“It was a pie-in-the-sky idea originally,” said David Orr of the expansion.
But it was a need, he said, they quickly saw a market for after opening their original workspace.
“We’ve always had a waiting list,” David noted.
“We started looking at this space within six months of opening the original,” Jamie Orr further explained of the Tribune office.
Now a few office spaces remain in the renovated structure, but the building is mostly booked, Orr added.
Membership ranges from around $500 a month for a full-time office space to $25 per day for co-working space. The facilities include a variety of shared office features, including a common space with a kitchen, shared work spaces and a conference room.
While remote workers have existed in the Basin for some time, the Orrs said their goal was to provide a joint community space to promote collaboration and a friendly office environment fitting for both full-time residents and area guests.
“I think for a long time the business community [in Tahoe] has been somewhat hidden,” Jaime Orr said. “It existed, but there wasn’t a central place. This is going to give that aspect of the business community that visibility.”
Other local industry leaders are on board as well.
“I like the vision,” said Carl Ribaudo, president and founder of Strategic Marketing Group, a tourism consulting firm based on the South Shore.
Ribaudo is among longtime local businesses opting to move into the new space.
“I really like those guys creating the community of folks in the building. That was something that was really appealing,” he said, describing his decision to join.
Ribaudo, who serves as a consultant for a number of mountain destinations, said that, in addition to benefiting local business, the new facility provides an amenity to area visitors that is increasingly appealing.
“It gives us a little bit of cachet,” he said. “It makes the destination current.”
Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce president B Gorman also commended the project, calling it a positive step for area business. The chamber will have an office in the building and be a part of collaborative business development projects.
“Tahoe Mountain Lab will provide a unique and supportive environment for existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs,” Gorman said. “We envision it becoming a hub of business activity for the South Shore.”
In addition to providing office space, Mountain Lab staff will host a variety of activities in the space, from casual events like beer tastings to business development-related functions in association with the chamber and other organizations.
“We’re working on creating an ecosystem for entrepreneurship,” Jamie Orr said. “We’ve got people in the lab that work for companies in Reno and across the globe.”
“There’s going to be a lot of collaboration, and that’s going to make a lot of these companies stronger,” David Orr added. Describing the region’s future potential, he said, “We’re at a tipping point right now. People are starting to see Tahoe as a viable place to live, work and play.”
More information is available at http://www.tahoemountainlab.com.