Church Street Exchange to become high-tech hub

By Caroline Rowland, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, July 24, 2014, 10:28 PM EDT

An Orlando businessman is trying to create a hub for high-tech jobs in Central Florida. And he's using a long-closed historic building for it.

The Church Street Exchange building has sat mostly vacant for the past 10 years, but it will soon be full of activity.

Instead of retail space as its been in the past, it will now cater mostly to local tech companies.

Phillip Holt started Splyt, a software company three years ago. Now he’s helping launch Canvs, a non-profit that will cater to tech start-ups like his own.

The concept behind it is called co-working. This will be the first in Orlando to just involve tech companies.

“Part of the desire to create something like Canvs is to make it easier for other people to get started, make it a more accessible process, increase the odds of success when companies are getting started, and try to inspire more people to start up,” Holt said.

Canvs will take up half of the first floor of the building. There will be desk space for 165 people, private office space available, conference rooms and community working spaces.

They offer several different memberships. The most expensive rate will be $1,000 a month and that gets you a private office.

“We need that physical space that’s going to make it all come together,” said Carlos Carbonell, who plans to move his company, Echo Interaction group, to Canvs.

“We want to be where the action is where there are other companies in our similar space,” Carbonell said.

Holt said Orlando’s tech community is the biggest in the southeast. They already have half of the space already rented out. They are hoping the whole space will be rented out by the end of the first year.