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Next Glass To Open HQ Downtown

By Vicky Janowski and Cece Nunn, posted Aug 27, 2014
Next Glass founder and CEO Kurt Taylor (File photo)
Wilmington-based startup Next Glass will move into a building downtown to consolidate its work in one spot, officials announced Wednesday.
 
The new 11,000-square-foot headquarters will be at 21 S. Front St., in a building owned by James Goodnight. Goodnight, son of billionaire SAS founder Jim Goodnight, has experience buying and renovating historic properties in downtown Raleigh, according to a Triangle Business Journal article.

Founded in 2012, Next Glass is developing an app to create personalized beer and wine recommendations for users.

To provide the basis for those recommendations, the company has been analyzing thousands of wines and beers in lab space at University of North Carolina Wilmington’s MARBIONC facility. Others with the company worked out of flex office space at Coworx at Barclay Commons.

“The move to 21 S. Front Street is a big step for us. It’s the perfect location to support our growing business,” Next Glass founder and CEO Kurt Taylor said in the release. “We couldn’t be happier about teaming up with James and moving our headquarters to downtown Wilmington.”
 
Company officials said they are moving the lab downtown along with the rest of the company.
 
In a recent guest column about fostering entrepreneurship in Wilmington, Next Glass chairman George Taylor said the headquarters move represented an investment of more than $2 million. He also said the company has 16 employees, with wages at two to three times the average for the county.

Not only does the move signify consolidation and growth for Next Glass, including the potential addition of more than 30 employees, it also ferments what some see as a downtown trend.

“What we find is entrepreneurial startups and people in the computer science and information fields like to be around each other and like to be in close proximity,” said John Hinnant, a commercial broker at Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co., who represented Next Glass in the transaction. “We found that after PPD moved downtown.”

Jim Roberts, executive director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, who has helped Next Glass evolve in a variety of ways through the CIE, also sees a bigger picture when it comes to the company’s growth and move to Front Street.

“I think it shows what is possible in our community when our community gets behind a startup like this,” Roberts said. “This is what we read about in bigger cities. This is just one example of what we hope happens from the outcome of our work here at the CIE.”
 
The company expects to move to Front Street in spring of next year and “is working on extensive renovations that will provide state-of-the-art facilities to accommodate its ongoing growth,” according to the release.
 
Next Glass will occupy the top two floors of the 21 S. Front St. building. According to real estate listing information from LoopNet, Charlie Brownz Lounge leases the building’s bottom floor.
 
The building, built in 1939 and registered on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is owned by Cary-based Meetinghouse Properties, according to the news release. Raleigh-based York Properties manages the building.
 
“We have a bit of experience restoring historic buildings throughout Raleigh, and we’re looking forward to continuing our success in Wilmington,” Goodnight of Meetinghouse said in the release. “It’s great to have a company like Next Glass as our anchor tenant, and we’re excited about the creative vision for their new workspace.”
 
Check back later for more information about the move. And to find out more about the current state of revitalization downtown, pick up the new print edition of the Business Journal on Friday or go to www.wilmingtonbiz.com.

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