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02/01/2010 - Spokane Entrepreneurial Center

Using the Spokane Entrepreneurial Center's (SEC) two buildings as a litmus test, the economy in Spokane is on the rise. Steve Salvatori opened the Lorraine Building 'the first Entrepreneurial Center 'in 2007 with the idea of offering business space to start-up companies at a very affordable rent. The Lorraine Building's twenty-two offices were soon filled, and Salvatori had a waiting list. Due to high demand, Salvatori decided to expand the SEC by purchasing the Plechner Building in 2008 and remodeling it to have more incubator spaces. It soon filled as well.

Soon after the Plechner Building came the downturn in the national and Spokane economy. The full buildings began to lose occupancy as new start-ups either chose to tighten their belts and stay longer in their basements, or to give up their business hopes altogether. Then the waiting list evaporated. "We hit bottom in September of 2009," says Salvatori. At that time we had six empty spaces for a 14% vacancy rate. As of this month, I have just one vacant space 'that's a 2% vacancy rate."

The current vacancy is in the Lorraine Building at 308 W 1st Ave on the second level. That space rents for $375 per month with parking, or $320 per month without parking. Rent includes, besides an office, high speed connectivity, use of a shared conference room, use of a lunch/break room, utilities, storage, fire and security safety, a directory listing, and the availability of one parking space.

Salvatori's plan for the SEC remains the same today 'offering business space to start-up companies at a very affordable rent. Tenants do not have to make a deposit nor sign a lease. Salvatori has had to adjust rents since 2007, but he pledges to keep them "as low as possible."

"The SEC offers low rent so that the start-up can concentrate on becoming a successful business 'not on the overhead," says Salvatori. "I'm very committed to entrepreneurs. I believe in small business, and I believe in the vitality, diversity of ideas, and innovation that you get only with small business. I believe in that and hope to encourage that in some small way."

For more information, contact Steve Salvatori, call (509) 944-0527 or e-mail steve.s@spokanecenter.biz.

Billie Moreland
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