FAIRBORN — The City of Fairborn is moving forward with plans to transform the former Roush’s Restaurant, 305 W. Main St., into a kitchen incubator and co-working space.
There’s two components to what we’re doing: there’s the kitchen incubator side, which is a membership-based kitchen [open] 24 hours per day, seven days per week for people who have a food idea, whether a bakery or special type of sauce or whatever, will have access to this kitchen to make their product,” Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson said. “… The second aspect of it is we’re going to have a large area for co-working — classroom space and educational space for training for food-based businesses, they can do that here.”
The space already includes industrial kitchen equipment, such as walk-in freezers and refrigerators, ovens, deep fryers and storage space for dry foods. It will operate on a membership basis in which individuals with ideas relating to food start-up businesses will be free to use to space and equipment to create food and experiment with recipes before investing the funds to go into business.
The roof is envisioned to become a rooftop farm. Instead of having raised beds to accommodate rooftop gardening, city officials are investigating a special media that rolls out like a rug but allows seeds to be planted. Anderson said this helps insulate the building, making it more energy efficient.
“We prefer and are investigating the possibility of having a rooftop farm,” he said. “Imagine a rug with dirt — you roll that out across the roof and plant right into the dirt. It’s planted right into the roof material, and that’s called a rooftop farm. That’s our goal … It’s easier to maintain than raised beds because you can use traditional gardening tools and don’t have to worry about getting into the bed.”
Upon the completion of renovations, the space in the front of the former restaurant will be transformed into a co-working space, which will include mixed seating, WiFi access, printing, educational classrooms and meeting areas. The city includes a similar space within the Vishal Soin Innovation Park, located on Presidential Drive across the street from Wright State University.
Co-working spaces are aimed to accommodate what is described as the “age of the super temp.”
“Co-working is a growing trend,” Downtown Revitalization Specialist Tonia Fish said. “That’s because the way we work as a society has fundamentally changed. We see a lot more people who are freelancing. People in general are not working toward a pension or retirement based upon working for the same company for a lot of years.”
The kitchen incubator and co-working space is open for informational tours 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday throughout July. It has not yet been officially named and membership prices have not been determined. Renovation costs and financing options are currently being examined. It is envisioned to open for business by June 2018.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532. To find her on Twitter, search for @FDHWhitney.