Innovation Cathedral

“Great buildings that move the spirit have always been rare. In every case they are unique, poetic, products of the heart.” — Arthur Erickson

Image via Audible

This is pretty great. Audible has been based out of Newark for about a while now, and they’re really investing in the community. For instance, all their interns have to be from Newark, and every high school student in the city gets a Fire tablet and a free subscription to audible. Now they’ve completed renovation of the former Second Presbyterian Church, which had been closed for years, making it an ‘Innovation Cathedral.’

From the press release:

“For decades, the Cathedral was home to the Second Presbyterian Church, a congregation founded in 1811 that would grow to more than 10,000 members by the middle of the 20th century. Audible rehabilitated the 80,000 square-foot church, built in 1933, while preserving many of its historic elements — including its distinctive stained-glass windows, organ pipes and bowling alley. In addition to offices, the reimagined space includes game areas, an auditorium, a refurbished bowling alley, an exhibit space, work cafes and lounges.

Refurbished bowling alley in the basement, originally built for church youth.

Since moving its headquarters to Newark in 2007, Audible has grown from a company with 100 full-time employees to more than 1,650, becoming the city’s fastest-growing private employer.

The company has made it its mission to catalyze Newark’s turnaround, offering jobs and training programs to Newark residents — including some who were formerly homeless — as well as incentives like housing subsidies for employees who choose to move to the city from elsewhere.”

While I have no investments or other ties to Audible, as an outside observer I’m impressed with the effort shown in keeping this historic building intact and used in a respectful manner. Further, the dedication to the Newark community that this Amazon subsidiary demonstrates in other ways is remarkable. Sure, it’s good press. It’s also good work.