Started with eQuip Richmond Initiative
In 2014, Chevron introduced eQuip Richmond Initiative - an economic revitalization initiative funded to strengthen community viability through wealth-building strategies via entrepreneurship and workforce development. The goal of eQuip was to establish partnerships that can enhance existing opportunities to build capacity, fill jobs with local hires, and improve conditions for local residents.
Three Local Organizations Came Together
The Community Engagement Liaison for Chevron, Andrea Bailey, East Bay Director of Programs for Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center, Bret Sweet, and Executive Director of Richmond Main Street, Amanda Elliot, came together and collectively agreed that a co-working space provided the best vehicle to spur entrepreneurship and workforce development in Downtown Richmond.
With the help of Janet Johnson, former Economic Development Manager for the City of Richmond, the partners recruited Ernst Valery, an inclusive community developer and founder of real estate investment firm SAA-EVI, to the project.
After exploring locations throughout the city for a co-working space, Ernst identified the unoccupied commercial space under the Richmond BART Parking Garage as the ideal site due to its proximity to BART, Capitol Corridor, AC Transit, I-80, I-580, and soon to be Ferry.
Architect Firm Brought On
John Change of Flynn Architecture secured to help with the buildout and optimization of the space.
2018 - Project Breaks Ground
2018 - CEO hired to lead the project
In 2018, Wesley Alexander was hired as the CEO of CoBiz Richmond to lead the project off the ground.
March 2019 - Interior Designer Selected
Kelly Finley, Founder of Joy Street Design, selected as the interior designer for CoBiz Richmond.