Making cooperative space a community place

Long-time Yukoners have watched with interest as the “old Food Fair” building has undergone extensive renovations on Second Avenue. The building has long sat vacant and curious viewers have watched with interest, wondering who the new residents might be. That wait is now over as the new YuKonstruct space has opened for members and the public to discover.

Jaret Slipp, executive director of YuKonstruct and CoSpace, explained during a tour that the space was designed as a flexible space for entrepreneurs who normally would be working at home alone or in coffee shops. It provides them with a more professional space and a peer group, both of which provide advantages. As well, the close proximity to other creative minds in the knowledge economy encourages collaboration by leaning on your peers for advice, asking about other professions and accessing others’ expertise.

“People are just a little more energized than at home alone,” Slipp explained. “There is some peer pressure and expectation to show progress. It’s like instant colleagues.

“On the innovation side, and it’s been proven in other places, the cross-pollination aspect is key.”

The new space has collected related groups who were focused on the creative sector and entrepreneurs, but spread throughout Whitehorse, and brought them all under one roof. The programs will all fall under the YuKonstruct brand, but that encompasses four elements of the building.

CoSpace is an expansion of the entrepreneur space that had been located upstairs at Strickland Street and 2nd Avenue. It caters to a mix of needs for members who pay a monthly fee, including access to hot desks for temporary working arrangements, taller L-desks that are available as a permanent dedicated space, exclusive to the user, and micro offices that are month-to-month rentals in configurations of one to four users.

Makespace is the rebranded shop for the YuKonstruct Makerspace that was located on Industrial Road. The space includes trades-related equipment and tools. It includes large available shop space, as well as smaller shop-storage spaces for members to store their personal specialty tools. While both are available 24/7, the Makespace is usually busiest on evenings and weekends. Members tend to hold full-time jobs and and are creating things as a hobby or a hobby-preneur, although many artists and crafters have been making use of the space as part of the growing online crafts economy on websites such as Etsy.

Launchspace is the collection of business programs that are offered as part of the business development and training aspect of YuKonstruct.

North Light Innovation is the new brand for the hub itself under the YuKonstruct banner. The hub is a community space with meeting rooms available to the public for rent and a community-oriented space. As part of this plan, a new coffee shop will be opening later this fall to stimulate the area. These components are part of YuKonstruct’s goal to make the hub a community space that welcomes the public. The old locations were somewhat isolated, and you only visited if it was your specific destination, and Slipp explained that they’d like to change that by being a community space.

The space so far has been a success, with a wait list already built up for space at the CoSpace desks and offices.

For more information on space, programs and the new YuKonstruct space, contact the hub by email at [email protected] or visiting the websites or They are working on a new website that will launch later this year consolidating all the hub’s activities and services.

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