In the heart of the city, a potential new heart for the Kansas City economy. School buildings from Westport's past are being turned into something for the future.
It's called Plexpod.
"Someone said the other day, they said this is Uber for office space. I thought you know that's the connection," said Plexpod founder & CEO Gerald Smith. "Uber is the connection between the driver and the vehicle. Plexpod is the connection between the entrepreneur and office space."
It will eventually become 160,000 square feet of coworking space, making it the largest coworking facility in the world.
It's a space that 200 KC businesses, mostly small start-ups, can share. Most of them will not sign leases. It's more like a gym membership.
"There's an eco system already in Kansas City and it's pretty scattered," said Smith. "And a lot of people are still working out of their homes or their basements or their apartments, and this gives you a scalable model to step into a great workspace."
And a historic one.
Opened in 1924, construction crews are working to give the old Westport Junior High School new life. A second phase is already planned at the old Westport High School across the street.
"All the iconic entrepreneurs of Kansas City, this is where most of them went to school, so there's a great legacy in this building that we're building on top of," said Smith.
From the school's ornate theater to the school's gym, much of it will be left intact, acting as meeting and event spaces for Plexpod.
"On every floor you'll have kitchenettes, meeting rooms, conference rooms and what we call common areas," said Smith.
The first businesses should move in in January, completing this 20th century building's transformation into a 21st century economic engine.
Justin Wilfon can be reached at email@example.com.