WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – The Purdue Research Foundation bought the University Church last month, and it has occupants ready to fill it. West Lafayette officials hope relocating a successful co-working space to the church’s site will help it become the next asset to the city.
When The Anvil became a concept in February 2013, co-founder and at the time Purdue student, Mike Asem, wanted a space where entrepreneurs could form their businesses.
The Purdue Research Foundation backed the idea, but wanted to see success.
“In about a year’s time, our goal was to have 30 to 50 active members and three to five startups,” Asem said. “What we ended up with were 60 active members and seven startup companies.”
Since The Anvil’s doors opened in September 2013, Asem and members of the Purdue Research Foundation said it has exceeded expectations. But something that could be in its way of growing even more, the location.
From a centrally located classroom, for example in Beering Hall, it could take a student about a half hour to walk to the current site of The Anvil on West State Street.
“The foot traffic during the day struggled between classes because it’s kind of diminishing returns to go there,” Asem said.
“It’s a great opportunity. [It has taken] two years for The Anvil to become more of a community institution rather than being student driven, on the far west side of campus,” said West Lafayette Development Director Chandler Poole.
To help The Anvil grow, West Lafayette and the Purdue Research Foundation’s group The Foundry are investing in its move. On Wednesday, the West Lafayette Redevelopment Commission approved lease negotiations to begin between the city and PRF to move The Anvil into the University Church.
The commission also approved the investment of $100,000 a year for two years in the space.
“We don’t see why our numbers wouldn’t double being so close to campus,” Asem said.
“We knew that the student leaders were motivated. But we’ve been thrilled they’ve stayed so motivated, and been able to bring such excitement,” The Foundry executive director Gregory Deason said.
Although The Anvil is student started, membership is not limited to students. West Lafayette officials hope the move, which should happen in September, can capture any citizen’s entrepreneurial spirit.