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Coworking space opens in renovated South Portland building

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SOUTH PORTLAND (WGME) -- A new coworking space has opened its doors in South Portland. It's a building that has housed James LaPlante's animation studio for 10 years.

"We bought the building, at the time we kind of developed it for two different purchases, one side was for the animation studio, the other side was therapy suites, our partner at the time was a social worker," says LaPlante.

LaPlante was recently looking to sell the property and set up shop in Portland, when he had a change of heart.

"The more I networked with people in the creative industries, the more I discovered that maybe the idea was not to move to Portland, but to double down on the property that I had here and offer it up to the creative community," says LaPlante.

He decided to start SoPoCo.Works, a creative coworking studio, which meant revamping the space.

"I don't know how many walls I've painted in here," says LaPlante.

And it's not just new paint; the building now has commercial-style windows for more natural light, a brand new kitchen and an updated exterior. There's a conference room, private offices, plus dedicated and floating desks.

"Ultimately I think we should be able to accommodate about 30-40 members in the space," says LaPlante.

It even has a virtual reality space.

"One of the unique things about our space is members can rent access to the virtual reality development gear, if you just want to goof off and play in virtual reality or if you want to actually program and develop content in it," says LaPlante.

LaPlante hopes members will want to collaborate with him and each other.

"Because my animation studio is here, that kind of serves as an anchor, so my hope is to attract other creatives that I could work with, with the animation studio or who might want my services as an animation studio to work with them," says LaPlante.

Rates at SoPoCo.Works range from $20 to drop in for a day, $90 a month for a basic membership, to $225 for a dedicated desk monthly membership. Private offices range from $350 to $600 a month.

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