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OfficePort founder Jolles finds home, hotbed of creativity in Kansas City

S Jolles front

Shaul Jolles loves Kansas City. And it shows. . . He knew where he wanted to be: the Crossroads Art District near downtown Kansas City, Mo. The Crossroads is well-known within the Kansas City area as a unique corner of downtown full of boutiques, local restaurants and most of all, a plethora of art galleries. But less than a decade ago, it wasn’t nearly as polished as it is today.

So what attracted Jolles to the Crossroads? “The creative people,” he said.

“It had this complete set of characters that were a lot like me, a bunch of rebels,” Jolles said, smiling. “I also loved the architecture. I loved what all of these buildings looked like. I saw the potential.”

Jolles began purchasing, renovating, and brokering many of the run-down warehouses in the area. He became so passionate about the Crossroads community that he even served as president of the Crossroads Community Association.

That passion for community is what, in 2008, led Jolles to pitch his real estate business partner, Mike Edmondson, on a different type of project — coworking. OfficePort, a coworking space in the Crossroads District, was born.

In an area where most of the commercial spaces averaged 5,000 square feet, Jolles routinely received calls from small businesses requesting small spaces and had nothing to offer them. He saw one-person companies, banking on strong future growth, taking up pricey and risky contracts for office space. “The overhead,” Jolles explained, “would kill them in a year.”‘

- Excerpt from Annie Sorensen’s most recent article on Shaul Jolles, co-founder of OfficePort, and OfficePort Kansas City. For the full article visit siliconprairienews.com.