Yesterday afternoon was probably the nicest afternoon we’ve had in Chicago since last September … and it was Saint Patrick’s Day. Despite that, several dozen entrepreneurs showed up in the afternoon for a hard hat tour of 1871. It was the sixth large-group, weekend tour we’ve done since we began construction (and we actually skipped the hard hats, because we’re just about done with the construction). It was also the last weekend tour, because in just a few days we’ll open our doors. We won’t open officially until May 2, but a few companies will be able to start moving in next week. In these early, “beta” weeks, we’ll have internet access, desks, great startups and lots of enthusiasm, even while we finish the rest of the buildout.
I have been told repeatedly by the builders and the architects that this project is unique. Most projects don’t get a lot of media attention, and most don’t have the governor at the site to announce the opening day. But what’s been truly unique about this project is the level of enthusiasm and engagement of such a broad range of people. More than 600 entrepreneurs and members of the digital community have toured the 1871 construction site over the last two months. It’s been incredibly rewarding to be part of the process of developing this space, and I can speak for the whole team involved that we can’t wait to open our doors and welcome the first teams of entrepreneurs to their desks to start the real work of 1871 — building great companies.