South Florida Tech HubSouth Florida Tech Hub

City approves proposal to turn an empty building into an innovation hub in downtown West Palm Beach

on May 17, 2022 / by Riley Kaminer ,

Read Time 3 Minutes

Only a block from Clematis Street where the building called the Thoroughfare stands, the coworking space and innovation hub, 1909, is now fully at capacity and can no longer accommodate additional startups and small businesses it aims to support.

On May 16th the West Palm Beach City Council voted to approve 1909‘s offer to purchase a property on 314 Clematis Street. The 30,000 square foot historic building in the heart of Downtown West Palm Beach will eventually be the organization’s new home while also providing space for hundreds of local small businesses.

1909 board, financing team, and leadership

1909’s offer included $10 million in cash and over $12 million in services that will be provided to the community. They will be the owner/operator of the building, alongside a local financing partner, Third Seven Capital. 1909 will use this building as a safe space for small businesses and startups in Palm Beach County. Plans include areas for local restaurants that have been or expect to be priced out of their current locations in the urban core.

“We plan to preserve and reimagine this 99 year old building in order to create a vibrant destination that celebrates design, character, and intentional tenant curation,” said Danielle Casey, 1909’s Co-founder.

The Community Redevelopment Agency of West Palm Beach currently owns the building. The government agency previously laid out a similar strategy for the building, known as the 12×12 project. From the beginning, the Throughfare was “for the purposes of encouraging businesses to downtown” and to “give business owners who might otherwise be priced out of Clematis Street a way in.” Selling the building to 1909 makes good on these efforts.

1909’s proposed vision

The exterior of the building facing Clematis Street will showcase a few local businesses with walk up windows to serve the public. The first floor will be open to the public, providing eclectic vibes to showcase the individual characteristic of each business, and West Palm Beach’s downtown as a whole. A public alleyway will include plants and bistro lighting, creating a beautiful ambiance for the public to enjoy.

This new space will enable 1909 to double down on their current programming, which includes their business accelerator program, workshops, and mentoring. They will also be able to offer public programming, in partnership with Rohi’s Readery and Elizabeth Ave Station, to bring family-friendly music, arts, and cultural events to the city. The ultimate goal? Create a safe place for all to connect, learn, grow, and thrive.

City Hall filled with 1909 supporters

“We know that contemporary consumers are looking for unique and connected experiences,” said Danielle Casey, 1909’s Co-Founder.  “The right blend of tenants will encourage discovery among visitors, which is what’s exactly desired and has been proven: intentional programming drives sales, growth and loyalty.”

For the past three years, 1909 has been supporting and providing space for local founders. While the growth in West Palm Beach has been exciting to the 1909 team, they expressed concern over the local small business community, which they felt was at risk. Four other organizations were vying for the space, including major out-of-town developers.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to continue providing necessary resources to our entrepreneur and small business community and we’re very grateful that the CRA Board saw the value in our proposal,” said Shana Ostrovitz, Executive Director of 1909.

To learn more about 1909 and stay up-tp-date with their progress, check out


WPTV News clip.

City approves proposal to turn an empty building into an innovation hub in downtown West Palm Beach