An art community grows in NoLibs

The scene at Fourth and Thompson streets will be radically transformed next year.

Brooklyn, N.Y.-based creative co-working shop 3rd Ward has broken ground on a second location in Northern Liberties.

The company — along with New York City developer David Belt and local businessman Paul Maiello — is renovating two warehouses and a church at 1227 N. Fourth St. for a total of 27,000 square feet of workspace, which includes a culinary classroom, circuitry lab and textile studio.

Belt, who is originally from Philadelphia, came across the property and its surrounding community when he was building an art installation across the street about a year ago.

“The more I got involved with that area, the more I thought 3rd Ward would be a good fit there,” he said. “And the buildings are perfect, because we can leave a lot of original details still inside.”

Like its flagship location, the Philadelphia shop will offer different membership levels for creative workers to use its facilities and encourage collaboration by housing a variety of trades under one roof — or, in this case, three roofs.

“Having people who cross all types of disciplines and skill levels, that’s a huge benefit of coming to a place like 3rd Ward,” 3rd Ward Marketing Director Jessica Tom said.

3rd Ward Philadelphia is slated to open next summer. The company will send out a request for proposals next week for a restaurateur to man its indoor-outdoor cafe.

The complex will also house gallery and event space, a retail store and a rooftop garden that will provide both storm-water drainage and a place to hang out.

Collaboration breeds creative success

Creative co-working spaces, such as the Crane Arts complex near 3rd Ward’s new location, have grown in popularity over the past few years.

“It’s part of the larger trend of collaborative consumption,” Tom said, citing Zipcar and Netflix as other examples. “Why buy equipment that you don’t use that often when you can be part of a larger community and share ideas and networks? … If you can just tap into shared resources, then you can save a lot of money, have a lot of fun and reduce your imprint.”

3rd Ward also has a huge roster of cool classes, many of which they plan to import to the new location.

Here are some classes that we’d like to see in Philly.


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