Time to innovate - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Time to innovate

Innovation Collective proposes center

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Posted: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 1:13 am, Tue Jul 22, 2014.

COEUR d'ALENE - Nick Smoot, with the Innovation Collective, made a presentation last week to the Lake City Development Corp. highlighting a new innovation center they want to build in Coeur d'Alene.

If possible, he told the LCDC board, his group would like to build it on property owned by LCDC south of City Hall. The property is between Young Avenue and east Pine Avenue on the west side of Eighth Street.

"In our minds, this is the ideal location," Smoot said, adding the collective wants to develop a "creative-class" culture that would help lure high-tech entrepreneurs to Coeur d'Alene.

The barn-like building would be approximately 20,000 to 25,000 square feet, and start as a one-story with the ability to expand into two stories if needed.

Smoot said he has contacted the local neighborhood association and the Tubbs Hill Foundation about his plans, and everyone so far has been positive about the project.

Nils Rosdahl, president of the Tubbs Hill Foundation, said last week that his organization has not taken a formal position on the project, but the members who saw Smoot's presentation appeared to be fine with the project.

"I wouldn't say they were supportive, but they weren't opposed to it either," Rosdahl said.

Smoot said some of the neighbors were concerned about the wild turkeys which live on that side of Tubbs Hill, but he assured them that if the project goes through, they would protect the turkey habitat.

Ironically, he told the board, the building they are looking at is based on the visitor center building at the Wild Turkey Distillery.

The facility will house a coffee shop, an accelerator space, co-work space, a prototyping lab, classrooms, event space and private office space.

Smoot told the LCDC board he already has seven private tech companies lined up to lease space in the building.

He said they want to put in a coffee shop, not because they think another coffee shop is needed in Coeur d'Alene, but because they want the facility to have a place where the public feels comfortable.

Smoot said the facility is designed to inspire innovative ideas and connect people with different skills to help nurture new companies.

LCDC Board Chairman Denny Davis asked Smoot how that concept differs from an incubator model.

"Think of it like a boot camp," Smoot said, explaining when someone comes in with a good idea and builds a team to execute the idea, he or she could apply for the accelerator program.

In that program, he said, they will receive a small amount of startup capital and mentors in exchange for some equity in the company.

Once a company grows to about 25 employees, Smoot said, it will graduate out of the facility and relocate to a space somewhere in the community.

Deanna Goodlander, an LCDC board member, asked Smoot if he was looking for a commitment from the board.

"You are doing a lot of preliminary work, but you don't have a commitment from us yet," Goodlander said.

Smoot said his request, at this point, is for the board to consider using that property for his project and to possibly open the property for a public application process.

Goodlander, a former city councilwoman, said she liked the concept of the Coeur d'Alene Innovation Center, but she would prefer LCDC's property to be used for future city hall expansion.

"We know the city campus is going to grow in the future, and that is why LCDC bought the property in the first place," she said, adding there are other issues such as parking in that location.

Smoot said the LCDC property is the collective's first preference, but they have considered other locations.

"We've looked at other properties," he said. "But ideally we want to be downtown to highlight some of the best that Coeur d'Alene has to offer."

Davis thanked Smoot, saying he supports the concept and asking him keep LCDC in the loop as he progresses with the project.

"Keep talking with us," Davis said.

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42 comments:

  • estatetracker posted at 9:59 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    estatetracker Posts: 276

    The pinnacle of tech "innovation" is that they can be "packed-up" over night and moved to anywhere U.S.A.-- or anywhere on earth as far as that goes. Having the oft quoted "skin in the game" should always relate back to a resource uniquely inherent to a specific geographic location that can't be moved by U-Haul to the next more desperate burb that offers free sewer and candy for the kids.

     
  • Cdajon posted at 5:39 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Cdajon Posts: 364

    This is a guise for something else. Beware cda.

     
  • SamuelStanding posted at 3:40 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    SamuelStanding Posts: 481

    Being in business for myself for 33+ years has taught me much, Mr. Smoot you do not need to respond to each post here. Weigh your options speak when necessary.
    Good idea, wrong downtown location. Refurbish the Elks building or build north of town. Close to KTec would be ideal where you could pull the young minds into new ventures.
    A monstrousity of a building close or on Tubbs hill to most likely fail within the first year, then close up shop is not ideal for the location.
    Businesses crash more often than not, within the first year of operation. Overextension, or poor management...lots of hurdles. Would love to see you come to the area as a new venture/business but not within the area you are currently seeking LCDC approval.

     
  • CHSdad posted at 3:20 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    CHSdad Posts: 368

    I really hope this is a success and helps to bring good paying jobs to the area. As the father of two teenage sons, I appreciate the efforts to offer something other than low-paying service sector jobs. Thanks to Mr Smoot also for clarifying here the proposed involvement of LCDC.

     
  • efromm posted at 2:31 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    efromm Posts: 659

    The press needs to clarify their article. They need to say company wants to buy land from lcdc to make a private company in down town Cda.

    I think it's a good idea. Sell it to them LCDC. Maybe something you do will actually bring a profit into the city....

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 2:20 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    I'm not sure what part of the conversation you may be missing, but we would be buying the land directly from LCDC and building the facility both with our own funds. Sorry for your confusion.

    There are tons of comments on here so I'm sure you are just missing them. Hope it is clear this time.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 2:04 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    We can handle a few blows. Thanks for the support.

     
  • arius1 posted at 2:00 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    arius1 Posts: 689

    Smoots says - "The main backbone of keeping the facility moving forward will be our concern not yours", yes, but if you are asking for help from the LCDC, which controls our taxpayer monies, it is of concern to us. I don't want my hard earned money to pay for someone elses failures.
    I'm still having a hard time with LCDC funding private enterprise.

     
  • Eric Dahl posted at 1:55 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Eric Dahl Posts: 1

    Awesome idea! This is exactly the sort of thing Eastern WA and Northern ID need more of...it will create more tech companies, keep more of them here, and grow/keep a better base of local talent. Seems like a huge win for the area. Best of luck!

     
  • scotty42 posted at 1:34 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    scotty42 Posts: 4

    I concur JimmyJohn! As a science teacher here in Coeur d'Alene that does a unit on robotics, I am all about providing our graduates with local tech opportunities, makerspaces, hackerspaces, incubators and the like.

     
  • Always Curious posted at 1:13 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Always Curious Posts: 460

    Sounds great to me and I like the building design.

    Mr Smoot., many are still feeling the sting of the latest LCDC "blightmanship" (20+ mil for a contentious park design-version 6) and anything with a tenuous or otherwise link to LCDC has to deal with their image as well.

     
  • Always Curious posted at 1:13 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Always Curious Posts: 460

    Sounds great to me and I like the building design.

    Mr Smoot., many are still feeling the sting of the latest LCDC "blightmanship" (20+ mil for a contentious park design-version 6) and anything with a tenuous or otherwise link to LCDC has to deal with their image as well.

     
  • Jullee posted at 12:13 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Jullee Posts: 539

    It was supposed to say BIKE.

     
  • JimmyJohn posted at 12:12 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    JimmyJohn Posts: 276

    A driven young guy is trying to bring technology and jobs to the area and he meets the disgruntled few, or legion of No, Know it All and did not read your answers. Why not try and turn CdA into a tech city, why are there so many negative people on here against trying to create good jobs for the community? We have no room for heavy industry and honestly why would we if we can create higher paying tech jobs. Tech companies do not want to be in an industrial park, they have employees that are creative, intelligent and want to be closer to downtown. Good for Nick Smoot.

     
  • Jullee posted at 12:12 pm on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Jullee Posts: 539

    We are for more innovative think tanks like this , just not at this location. The Industrial Park would be a great place to put it. Our area is small and everything is ( all services are close). You can ride your bake to everything here.

     
  • Why Not posted at 11:40 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Why Not Posts: 4114

    It's a shame, Mr. Smoot has met the legion of No, Know it All and did not read your answers. Good luck, incubators are a terrific resource for technology ventures. Not everyone comes up with an instant crowd source or venture capital winner. Access to other creative minds and engineers and having center in close proximity to local services and hotels is a significant advantage.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 11:40 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    Apparently you haven't read through the comments. First, Nicky really isn't my preferred nickname, I like Smoot. I'll take either though.

    Secondly, it is our money in the game. Sorry you don't have the privilege of understanding the situation since it is from an article that doesn't cover all areas of the dialogue. Congrats on your venture being profitable.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 11:38 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    First off, that isn't the building. Those are renditions of a facility we like.

    Secondly, I'm sure you are not familiar with organizations like TechStars or Y-Combinator, but they both do ok. The main backbone of keeping the facility moving forward will be our concern not yours. We however do have a business plan that is sound and covers our bases.

     
  • Tiffj44 posted at 11:37 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Tiffj44 Posts: 1

    I agree with The last comment! This seems like a complete waste of energy, space, and money and the disrupting of beautiful downtown coeur d Alene and its natural habitat. Go to California if you want a place for high tech innovation and leave peaceful Cda alone.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 11:35 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    Looking at all options.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 11:34 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    Appreciate it and pushing hard on the "Do First" everyday and have been a part of great success.

    The talk part is a non negotiable since we are trying to buy land that is in a unique location that is currently owned by LCDC. I'd keep it silent if it were up to me. Thanks for the advice and I hope to meet you some day in the Innovation Center, wherever we end up building it.

     
  • Jullee posted at 10:50 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Jullee Posts: 539

    Ugly building and inappropriate for this area. This concept is interesting but should be built somewhere else like the industrial park.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 10:40 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    I'm glad you agree the Lake District is a great area to be. We do as well and that is why we hope to spend our money on purchasing this land and building a building.

     
  • meidaho posted at 10:39 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    meidaho Posts: 222

    Actually, I do very much understand the past and present robotics industry. I built my first robot about 30 years ago. It was about 250 lbs (batteries banks were heavy those days) and was able to patrol property and even had the ability to take pictures, automatically go to a recharging station to recharge then resume duty after a charge. I designed everything and wrote all of the software myself.

    So when it comes to robot ordinances, I know the level of AI needed for a robot to comply and properly execute any ordinances. The level of AI is just there at this time. It is a truely hard task just to make a robot freely move around without hitting anything. I am pretty sure that in the distant future, a robotic AI system may be able to simulate understanding what an ordinace is and how to comply. But that is still a long long way from now.
    Today, AI might look advanced but current robotic AI systems are not even as smart as a grass hopper.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 10:38 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    Not Other Peoples Money. Right now we are building to meet demand. There are companies, community tech efforts, and economic resources who would like to be under one roof together.

    Sorry for the confusion, but you are incredibly inaccurate in your comments due to lack of knowledge of the situation. I do appreciate the passion and desire to ensure there aren't mistakes being made though.

     
  • SKGOP posted at 10:32 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    SKGOP Posts: 286

    Mr. Smoots....I wish you well. I really do. You sound sincere. I do not give advice, and i will not give any here. What i will say is.......50+ years in business has taught me to.....Do first, talk later. It has served me very well in life.

     
  • jmowreader posted at 10:31 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    jmowreader Posts: 1160

    Nick, I wonder: It seems to me that the old Elks building on Lakeside, with the addition of a parking deck because that commodity is scarce in downtown Coeur d'Alene, would be a great place for an incubator. Have you thought of using it?

     
  • idahodoglover posted at 10:26 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    idahodoglover Posts: 6

    Excuse me for asking but what is the 'business model' for this ahem 'business'. Private profit? How? Incubating new businesses probably means THEY have no money, in the article you mention that they'll GET money...from where? I can see it all now, IF the project were ever built, say 2 maybe 5 years down the road, there is NO MONEY to keep 'the business' afloat and then back to square one, what to do with the empty building. Which is ugly by the way...

     
  • meidaho posted at 10:23 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    meidaho Posts: 222

    Nick

    Wow - thank you for your kind and prompt reply. I hope you do well and are able to establish a new Innovation Center.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 10:17 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    Who is going to pay for the property and building of this Innovation Center?

    My partner and I.

    Who is going to manage this Innovation Center?

    Our staff.

    Who decided who can use this Innovation Center?

    We will since it is a private facility with public use.

    Where does the funding come from to support the Innovation Center and who manages the funds and decides how to spend the funds?

    Again, private facility and our money.

    Who is on staff for this Innovation Center and O some many questions...

    People we choose to hire.

    What percent of this Innovation Center used tax payer dollars or public property?

    We will be buying land and building a building with private money.

    Hope you have a great day.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 10:13 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    Sorry you don't understand the purpose of the ordinances which has been and is to protect the research and development of robotics on public lands.

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 10:11 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    My money and my partners money is involved in this. We will be purchasing the land directly from LCDC if possible and building the facility with our funds. From what I know, Litehouse purchased the Coldwater Creek building. Even if that facility was available, it is not in the ideal location for what we want to accomplish and it is ugly.

    I prefer to be called Smoot as a nickname. Nicky really isn't my preference. Thanks though for the endearment.

     
  • arius1 posted at 10:01 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    arius1 Posts: 689

    If Smoots has any connection/ relationship with anybody involved with LCDC, he'll probably get what he wants. Me suspects this is the cracking open of the door, so we the taxpayers aren't totally surprised.
    Have to agree with the OPM and skin in the game concept. Even though the LCDC controls the money, its really ours, the taxpayers money. Use your own if you want to make a profit, and I assume thats the point of this venture.
    I had an idea for a business a couple of years ago, brought it to the banks, got turned down 7 times, 8th time was a charm, add in my "skin in the game $$", and got it going. Business is good, am paying back the banks, as well as myself.
    If you have no substantial personal monetary investment, failure then, is not a big deal, right Nicky ?

     
  • Walkabout posted at 9:54 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Walkabout Posts: 6

    I think it would be far more innovative to add this property to Tubbs Hill. The Innovation Center is also unnecessary, many fine innovative companies got there start in a garage. Here are just a few: Apple, Google, HP, Amazon, Disney, Microsoft.

     
  • darcigirl posted at 9:52 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    darcigirl Posts: 658

    Maybe the "Innovation Center" could get together with the gal who pitched the "eat your vegetables" campaign to the council members the other day - seriously signs in restaurants telling us what foods to put on our plate...are you serious! Why don't these folks use their own money for these silly things instead of asking taxpayers to support them!

     
  • Nick Smoot posted at 9:45 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    Nick Smoot Posts: 13

    Not sure what you are assuming by this, but this location is ideal and we are looking to purchase the land from LCDC and build a private building with our private funds. If you have a real question, I'd love to answer it.

     
  • FIy in the ointment posted at 8:15 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    FIy in the ointment Posts: 630

    Apparently he's not as innovative as some business owners. Nice try though.

     
  • lapua208 posted at 7:43 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    lapua208 Posts: 150

    How much of Smoots own money is involved? Got to have skin in the game Nicky. The Coldwater Creek building is empty, use that.

     
  • meidaho posted at 7:39 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    meidaho Posts: 222

    Will robots be banned or will there be some new local revolutionary ordinances which state what a robot must do -and- may do -and- never do when robots are using this Innovation Center?

     
  • meidaho posted at 7:30 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    meidaho Posts: 222

    Who is going to pay for the property and building of this Innovation Center?

    Who is going to manage this Innovation Center?

    Who decided who can use this Innovation Center?

    Where does the funding come from to support the Innovation Center and who manages the funds and decides how to spend the funds?

    Who is on staff for this Innovation Center and O some many questions...

    What percent of this Innovation Center used tax payer dollars or public property?

    Until I know some answers, I do not want to do anything.

     
  • SKGOP posted at 6:27 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    SKGOP Posts: 286

    After reading about this I simply laughed. These people have.....NO CLUE. Most would be happy simply to "find an empty building"....NOT this group. They WANT to build another.....BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME, only works in the movies....and with Kevin Costner. I have owned businesses, trained employees, made and lost $$$ millions. Never, did I ever imagine that a building determined my success. OPM.....For those who do not know what these 3 letters stand for.....Other Peoples Money...There are literally thousands and thousands of people with IDEAS. Very few of these ideas make MONETARY SENSE unless you use OPM. Then they ALL make monetary sense......to those who want them. As to "they are not opposed". Just because someone is polite and listens does not mean they do not disagree. We all know Idaho can use more jobs, higher paying jobs. If there is a monetary benefit for one job, it will be created. People who THINK a new building is where we start to create jobs are either totally ignorant and void of ANY BUSINESS SENSE or.....are on some form of drug.....Either of which may be very hazardous to ones health.

     
  • LMYCDA posted at 3:37 am on Tue, Jul 22, 2014.

    LMYCDA Posts: 1780

    Good Lord...WHAT NEXT A FOOTBALL STADIUM? Our downtown is over burdened as it is and now this person wants to make money off the citizens by using our, yes mine as I live in the Lake District, and MORE TRAFFIC. Give us all a break!!

    Take it out to the prairie!! We need a vote on this...LCDC should not be able to use millions of tax dollars again for the benefit of a few.

     
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