Company creates ‘coworking’ space in longtime bank building in downtown Hamilton

Creators of The Benison event center in downtown Hamilton have added a new feature that may be handy for people having trouble working from home during the coronavirus pandemic: Places people or companies can rent for “coworking” spaces.

Christy Nelson opened The Benison in May 2019 in a building at 100 S. Third St. that for most of its century-long history had served as banks. This month, the company opened the coworking spaces in the same building.

Byron Skaggs, The Benison’s coworking director, said the company wants to aid Hamilton’s “re-invigorated business community.”

“By providing a collaborative, inspiring place to work, and access to support and a wider community, we are helping to create more jobs in Hamilton and ensuring we keep talented entrepreneurs and small business in the area,” Skaggs said. “We’re in a great location, The Benison is a beautiful historic bank building, just downtown off High Street.”

The facility has conference and meeting rooms. Its Member Café provides specialty coffee, wine and craft beer from local businesses, with lunch items available from partner restaurants.

Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, said he believes The Benison will succeed where other coworking spaces have failed because those were ahead of their time.

“Photos really don’t do it justice,” Bates said. “They did a wonderful job.

“They have really colorful, vibrant and contemporary meeting spaces and great flex office spaces, and it really is a nice environment.”

“Coworking spaces are for people who largely don’t need or can’t afford a full-time office, but want a professional place to work, get their mail gathered, all that kind of stuff,” Bates said.

There’s another benefit to people using such spaces, he said.

“I think those spaces really encourage conversation and when more than one small business or startup is in the space at the same time, you can gain insight from someone else that you might not ever have had a conversation with otherwise,” Bates said.

Membership packages start at $59 per month and range from “virtual” — for people who only need business mailing addresses and package arrival notifications — to drop-in, reserved desk and private office options.

People interested in tours can visit, email or call (513) 449-1003.

Nelson, whose event center in the building has become a popular place for weddings and receptions, said the coworking spaces return the building to its original purpose.

“The most romantic day of your life should be historic,” Nelson said. “When we found out this place was available, we knew we had to jump in and bring it back to life. Opening The Benison to coworking allows us to tap into the building’s original purpose and empower the Butler County business community even more than one special day, but for the life of business.”

The downtown area is experiencing a renaissance that began with the business corridor of High and Main streets, but in recent years has been spreading northward and southward from those streets, with The Benison being an example of that.

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