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An effort that began as a low-cost housing project in Florence has morphed into an Airbnb called the Industrial Hotel, intended to highlight rural agritourism. The project, championed by Wyatt Reed and Barna Kasa came about with a certain amount of tech karma.

Barna is both a current and recovering tech-person, and Wyatt is a GC, maker-preneur. According to Partner and GM of the Emergent Campus Brad Rowland, Wyatt is a previous winner of the Emergent Campus B2B business pitch competition. Located at the historic Florence High School, the Emergent Campus supports tech start-up efforts in the state’s Region 13 business sector.

Fremont County, like Chaffee County and nearly every central Colorado mountain county, has a workforce housing problem. Affordable housing has become an urgent need; a housing crisis that is worsening with the growth in workforce size. The housing needs are leading to some unusual housing options, including a trend that first gained traction in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe; repurposing shipping containers as housing.

Right here in Chaffee County, a shipping container has taken on a new life as a coffee shop in Poncha Springs. Shipping containers have popped up on a few two-acre parcels; not as homes but simply as placeholders filled with personal belongings, for the home yet to come.

Rowland says that the hotel-Airbnb units are one way of addressing the need fueled by rising tourism, the presence of what is known in the tech field as digital nomads working project by project. It includes tech sector visitors there for a few weeks, or a few months, absorbing the tech advancements happening in Region 13.

Startup Colorado and River Science helped to sponsor portions of the launch, also highlighted as part of Fremont Economic Development Corporation – FEDC’s new AgSTART initiative.

“…AgSTART creates profitable ventures at the intersection of ag-tech, traditional agriculture, and conservation initiatives that positively impact the region’s natural resources. Sponsored by Startup Colorado and River Science, local permaculture designer Kaila Kobow of Vitalscape Design will create plans for an on-site native pollinator garden to regenerate the landscape and riverbank.”

FEDC Announces the Opening of The Industrial Hotel


Readers can visit the website for The Industrial Hotel here:

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