This story was updated Sept. 2 at 11:24 a.m. to correct spelling of Strafire Website Design business.
The Society of Work, a business that offers shared office space to its members, will expand in January to claim another entire floor, the seventh, of the 10-story Edney Innovation Center.
Society of Work now occupies the sixth floor of the building. It's a former Tennessee Valley Authority office at the corner of 11th and Market streets, that was sold in May of last year to a team of local investors and has now become the hub of the city's new downtown Innovation District.
A keg of craft beer on tap is one of the perks that stokes potential tenants' interest.
"People's eyes light up. They're like, 'What?' said Mary Stargel, the community manager of Society of Work, which bills itself as a community.
Society of Work has 80 members, some of whom use the 14 individual offices on the sixth floor, all of which are filled with tenants, while the other members use shared work space.
The Edney Building's owners, a group of local investors led by Jimmy White and Chuck Chitty, recently launched a program, Edney Access Pass, under which tenants, for an extra $15 a month, can consume soda pop, nuts, ice cream and several Chattanooga-made beverages.
Tenants can drink from a refrigerated keg of The Bitter Alibi beer or have a cold draught of Blue Indian Kombucha, a nonalcoholic fermented tea, or drink as much as they want of Velo Coffee Roasters NiteRider coffee.
"We have coffee pros here; they're obsessed with their coffee," Stargel said.
The beverage and snack stations are located on different floors of the building.
Ken Hays, president & CEO of The Enterprise Center, which is housed in the Edney, had the idea of spreading out the drinks and snacks to create "collisions" between the different floor's tenants so they can meet and exchange ideas.
"I took what I saw in other cities. These things are popping up all over the place now," Hays said, citing the example of the Cambridge Innovation Center in Cambridge, Mass., which bills itself as the home of more startup businesses than anywhere else on earth.
"You're expanding on the water cooler philosophy," Hays said. "In a sense, you're not leasing office space at the Edney — you're building a community."
Society of Work touts those sorts of intangible benefits for its tenants.
"We're creating a culture where things get done," the business' website says. "Everyone here is into building things—startups, communities, freelance networks, individual relationships."
Derek Rogers, owner of Strafire Website Design and a tenant at Society of Work's sixth-floor office, agrees with that.
"I love it," said Rogers. "It's just a great environment. There's a lot of talent on the floor. I work with quite a few other businesses."
Rogers said he's met business people at Society of Work who've led him to new clients, and Rogers has sent business other tenants' way.
Society of Work wants new tenants to sign a six-month agreement to lease offices on the seventh floor, which is being renovated now. Spaces cost from $625 to $1,000 a month, depending on their size, and require a $250 deposit.
The lease includes 1 gig of wireless internet, use of shared kitchens, access to a video game room, use of lockers, a changing room and showers.
Before it moved into the Edney Building, the Society of Work, which was founded by architect Kelly Fitzgerald, was housed on the 13th floor of the First Tennessee building downtown.