Business incubators are great for boosting small business, it gives the chance for micro businesses to gain affordable office space. A lot of the local commercial real estate that's available for lease is too large and too expensive for a micro business owner who may only need 2-400 square feet for an office, while most spaces are over 1200 sq ft. Having one of these positioned downtown would showcase the city's support of small business, as well as bringing more business downtown to the shops and restaurants.
An Incubator would ideally include several small lightly furnished office spaces available for monthly rent, event space for rental [banquet hall and a few conference rooms] and at the base SBA [Small Business Association, or other similar non-profit organization] offices where classes and training can be held. Members could purchase an office and with their monthly fee they could receive access to the conference rooms and discounts on renting the larger meeting facilities. Members can also choose a virtual office option to use the building as a mailing address and they can use the conference rooms when available. The second floor or the front side of the ground floor could also be reserved for shops and small restaurants. These spaces would have built in kitchens or racks and display cases already provided, so that they are move in ready. Having a large commercial kitchen on the basement level or on the back of the building with loading access for catering businesses to rent would also be beneficial.
Money made through the rental of the meeting facilities [which could be open for rent for non-members at higher rates] and the office spaces could go towards city funding so that we can continue to grow this community. This building could produce hundreds of businesses and jobs that would help our local economy.
We have several large vacant properties downtown. If a building like the Philips Loan building was given the ability to "work for the city" I believe it would be not only financially beneficial to the city, but beneficial to the community as well. This way future entrepreneurs and micro business owners have a better chance at success, which would inspire many to pursue their dreams, instead of worrying they will never be able to afford their own store front.