Chicago Detours has innovated as a business in many ways since 2010, and one forward-thinking project we led was one of the earliest coworking spaces in Chicago. Our coworking space, which we called “Guild,” was geared specifically for creatives,entrepreneurs, and start-ups.
When we opened this up in 2011, many people didn’t even know what a coworking space was. The trend in coworking grew with more people working freelance and remote. The live/work spaces of the ’90s ended up a bit off-track because working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Having a desk away from home is infinitely more efficient, and many people vibe off the energy of others.
Our coworking office, called Guild Coworking, was right in the Loop, one block from Michigan Ave. It was a block from the Art Institute, and I’ll always regret not taking more breaks to just pop in to see a gallery. The space was located by every elevated line, from the red line to the blue line. The office had great ventilation with high ceilings and amazing sunlight.
We had five desks for rent. Guild strategically brought together top talent to create a coworking community of people from a variety of industries. Our tenants included a small business lawyer, an educational non-profit, a trader, a podcaster, and PR professional.
Our space provided a great alternative to the soulless boxes of other coworking spaces in downtown Chicago. We were motivated by bringing together independent people who are in business because of passion, not for money and fame, and kept the cost for the furnished space at a welcoming rate. $290/month includes everything: internet, utilities, a desk with locking storage, a chair, shared refrigerator,unlimited tea, and use of our conference room.
The picture shows that it’s sunny and spacious. I had thought for being on the fourth floor on Wabash that it might be dark, but actually the light bounced around a lot from neighboring buildings.
Guild was located in 30 E. Adams, with excellent amenities nearby: the Art Institute, Kramer’s Health Foods, and the Palmer House Hotel. This building shared a heating system with the Palmer House. I’d go next door sometimes to take a break and admire the cathedral high ceilings with incredible plasterwork.
We had to leave the building in 2015 when the family that owned this old highrise sold it to developers. All tenants had to leave, including an architecture firm, an art restoration specialist, and a violin making company. Today what had been known as The Hartman Building is instead The Alfred, which rents all-white, super modern apartments.