American Underground expanding to the rooftops

07/24/2014 10:47 AM

07/24/2014 10:48 AM

American Underground, which runs a trio of incubators for startup businesses in the Triangle, is doubling the space at one of its Durham locations to accommodate new companies and provide existing tenants room to expand.

The 26,000-square-foot expansion, which was announced Thursday and is expected to be completed at American Underground’s West Main Street site by January, will enable the network of incubators to house about 200 companies — up from 150 today.

“We have a good problem and a bad problem — which is that we are at capacity at all of our locations,” said Adam Klein, American Underground’s chief strategist.

Altogether, the expanded American Underground will encompass 87,000 square foot across its two locations in Durham and a single Raleigh site. The first American Underground opened in Durham’s American Tobacco Campus in 2010.

The expansion at its @Main site, which will become the largest of the three incubators, will include “fun and interesting amenities” in addition to 46 new office spaces, Klein said.

They include a rooftop patio with outdoor seating and space for events and an “Entrepreneurs Living Room” with floor-to-ceiling windows that open out to the patio. The living room will have couches, TVs and a private bar featuring North Carolina craft beers.

American Underground, owned by Raleigh’s Capitol Broadcasting, offers startups space that is relatively inexpensive. An individual can rent shared office space for as low as $199 a month; college students get a special $79 monthly rate.

“As downtown Raleigh and downtown Durham become more and more successful, we want to ensure startups in both communities have affordable” space, Klein said.

American Underground calculates that, in the first half of this year, its tenants created 122 new jobs. Last year American Underground was named a “tech hub” that is part of an entrepreneurial support program run by technology giant Google.

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