Kollektiv Brings Coworking to German Village in Old Max & Erma’s Spot

All photos by Susan Post.

Coworking space by day, bar and restaurant by night. For the initiated, the former Max & Erma’s at 739 S. Third St. in German Village will feel familiar. The massive wooden bar and Tiffany lamp shades are still there. Some of the same quirky and historic artwork lines the walls, but a trio of new businesses are taking over the now multi-use space.

Kollektiv runs the show by day. The new coworking space occupies all three floors of the building, creating distinctive work atmospheres on each floor. Pierogi Mountain occupies the kitchen, serving coworking members and fulfilling food partner orders through delivery services at lunchtime. At 4 p.m. the public joins the party, as Wunderbar opens its doors on the first floor and Pierogi Mountain starts dinner service.

The building traces its origins back to 1889. The early days housed a bar and grocery on the ground floor, apartments on the second, and town hall on the third before Max & Erma’s moved in in the 1950s.

It’s always been a neighborhood spot, something Kollektiv co-creator Katie Murray is excited to continue.

“I’m just really excited to be able to make this a community place again,” she says. “This space, in particular, is really important to me because it is a true neighborhood spot.”

It’s not only their location in the middle of a neighborhood-minded community, but the on-site bar and restaurant Murray says sets Kollektiv apart from other coworking spaces.

“We have the ability to create a space for different kinds of workers because on each floor there’s a different atmosphere,” she says.

The ground floor is first come, first serve hot desks. For $150/month members set up shop wherever space is available from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Come 4 p.m., coworkers can pack it up or join the public in libations at Wunderbar.

The second floor is largely private offices and dedicated desks. Dedicated desks start at $350/month, while private offices range from $800 for a solo spot, to $2,200 for the largest office which can house of a team of three to four. The third floor offers a mix of all three options, as well as a rentable conference room, communal kitchenette and lounge space.

Murray says they’ve tried to preserve the integrity of the building. Kollektiv salvaged the original hardwood floors in the dedicated desk room. Brick has been exposed in one office, while an original fireplace is a feature in another. Woodwork is preserved around the space’s windows. Many of the Max & Erma’s decorations have also made their way throughout the floors. The office safe is still around, too, though no one actually knows how to open it or what’s inside.

With a background in corporate culture at Abercrombie & Fitch, Murray says, “I feel really passionately in creating a space where people work, where they want to be there and they feel the most productive and the most creative.”

Read up on Wunderbar & Pierogi Mountain on ColumbusUnderground.com

Bringing other elements into the coworking space creates a unique culture for the location. Members could literally spend all day there, working by day, dining by night. Murray sees it as a modern way to bring the community together.

Kollektiv, Wunderbar and Pierogi Mountain officially open on Friday, March 15.

For more information, visit kollektivco.com.