Building Relationships (pun intended)
Relationships with buildings are a lot like friendships. This is possibly a weird comparison, but I think it every time I tour a house, or look at a new building. Let me explain.
Friendships usually start off slowly, right? First, you see someone that catches your eye. Maybe they've got a vibe about them that makes you think, "Hey, we could be friends." So, you make a point to chat with them and get to know them a little. If you enjoy your chats, you and your new friend make plans to hang out. At first, it can be a little awkward, but before you know it, it feels like you've known them forever. You're regularly asking each other for advice and sharing details about your past, present, and future. Sometimes, you and your friend disagree. You go through rough patches. But if you stick it out, the friendship ends up stronger, better, and more comfortable in the long run.
What does this have to do with buildings? We can look at it in the context of 120 E. Grand, or what's now Firehouse Workspace.
The first time I looked at 120 E. Grand, I didn't know what it would become. (Let's be honest. I didn't even know what a coworking space was.) The building and I had just met, but she had a cool vibe. I liked her. I thought maybe we had a future. So I went back and looked repeatedly. I explored and learned. I talked to the owners.
Pretty soon, I realized I wanted to hang out with this building some more. It was a little uncomfortable at first. She had been hurt a lot in the past, and it took us a while to get comfortable with each other. But then she started telling me what she had been, and what she wanted to be in the future. We started hanging out on a regular basis and having a lot of fun together. Both of us were growing and changing because of the other.
But then we hit a rough patch. Our relationship wasn't progressing, mostly because of her issues (plumbing in particular). And that's where we are now. I'm anxious for us to be best friends and hang out everyday, enriching each other's lives, and letting our friendship build community for other people. But maybe she's dragging her feet a little bit, and that's ok. You can't rush a good thing.
When this process is done, I know we'll both be stronger and better for what we've gone through together. We'll have achieved something neither of us could have done on our own, and I see us being in each other's lives for a long time. Meanwhile, I'm making friends with the building next door.