How NEXT Began
In fall 2007, a group of Upstate entrepreneurs and members of the steering committee for NEXT, Peter Waldschmidt, Peter Barth, and Andrew Kurtz, starting talking about the need for space to grow more than their respective businesses. They wanted a building for their work that would also increase the quality of life for everyone associated with their endeavors as well as for the extended community in the Upstate. Their conversation and leadership has led to the two current NEXT Space locations with hopes for more.
The group connected with Greenville developer, Bob Hughes, to outline their vision. In an ideal world, they said, they would:
- be located near the center of activities in downtown Greenville
- be along the Reedy River
- be in an environmentally conservative building
- have economical space for their businesses today
- have convenient access to more space as business grew
- be surrounded by neighbor tenants who shared a zest for innovation
- have plenty of space and tools for collaboration
As part of an Upstate economic development team, Jeff Papenfus traveled to Dublin, Ireland to visit a technology center called The Digital Hub. When he returned, he met with the three Upstate entrepreneurs to develop what would become the Upstate’s own technology hub, the NEXT Innovation Center.
In the following months, the team found the ideal opportunity to develop the NEXT Innovation Center—a vacant, 60,000 square foot structure in an area where Greenville’s expanding renewal had not yet reached. As a bonus, the site is along the Reedy River and is only a short walk away from the activity in downtown Greenville.
NEXT, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, the City of Greenville, and Hughes Development Corporation created the NEXT Innovation Center. The entire project has been a collaboration of entrepreneurs, architects, designs, government and non-government organizations.
With the success of the NEXT Innovation Center, the group expanded with NEXT on Main in 2015. NEXT on Main is located in the heart of Greenville's central business district and is the start of NEXT Space's expansion.
If you’re an entrepreneur with a growing company or are an official seeking to turn empty buildings into entrepreneurial hubs, Hughes Development Corporation is happy to discuss options for the future.
Press about NEXT
Do I have to be a member of NEXT to lease space in the building?
No, you do not have to be a member of the Chamber’s NEXT collaborative to lease space in one of the NEXT spaces. However, almost all of current tenants are members of NEXT, and the space is designed for similar high-impact technology companies. If your company fits this profile, we would welcome you to become a part of the NEXT Innovation Center or NEXT on Main.
How can I arrange a tour?
We will enjoy showing you around our spaces and introducing you to some of the remarkable people who make our communities special. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a tour.
What is the process for qualifying to be a tenant in NEXT Space?
Because the NEXT Innovation Center and NEXT on Main are more than office space, we’re looking for tenants who are entrepreneurial, growing firms with an emphasis on innovation and impact. Companies who will both benefit from and contribute to a community sense of collaboration will be a great fit.