The Virgil offers space for co-working, weddings, and events in a former church.
Named after the ancient Roman poet and Dante’s guide through Inferno, The Virgil has become a new focal point for the burgeoning Wells Avenue District.
Wells History Brought to Life
Topped by a clock tower, the red brick building was originally constructed on the former Stead Air Force Base in the 1920s and later moved to the corner of Wells Avenue and Vassar Street in Reno. Before becoming The Virgil, the building spent time as a dance hall, the original Little Flower Church, and a branch of U.S. Bank.
“We still get people walking in here with debit cards looking to get cash,” laughingly says Jessie Phillips, co-creator of The Virgil.
Phillips and Rachel Macintyre are the co-founders of Wandering Wyld, which supports small businesses through pop-up events and markets. While working with local entrepreneurs and creatives, the women realized that many of them were on the lookout for collaborative workspaces.
Phillips and Macintyre began searching around Reno for a building in which to open a community co-working space. The Wells Avenue District appealed to them for its dynamic growth and walkability.
“However, it turns out there is actually not a lot of money in co-working. It’s really tough,” Macintyre says. “Co-working also can be really expensive, and we wanted to offer something that was affordable and accessible to the community. In order to do that, we had to supplement with another revenue stream. This space really lends itself to weddings and events.”
“What fills our cup is community building, and The Virgil feels like a beautiful, natural extension of that,” Phillips adds.
During construction, Phillips and Macintyre moved the church’s original stained glass from another part of the building into the main room, restored the dramatic chandelier, and restored all the windows. All the building’s wainscoting is original, and any leftover materials from the demo were used to build The Virgil’s bar, which is available for co-working members to access local coffee from Forged Coffee Roasting Co. in Reno and sparkling tea from BlendBee in Sparks.
A Community Space
Along with co-working and weekend weddings, the space also is used to host monthly sound baths, dance groups, Artown events, pop-up dinners, and book signings.
“People have been stoked,” Macintyre says. “The biggest thing that people say is that they are really inspired by the space, the design, and the natural light. They also love the on-site parking.”
Phillips adds that she and Macintyre also want to present something extraordinary to Reno and are planning on offering affordable pop-up and micro-weddings weddings next year.
The power of the pop-up seems to be the engine that runs this energetic business.
“One thing we want people to know is if they have a vision for an event to come and talk to us,” Macintyre says. “Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses can be really challenging, and this space lends itself to innovative approaches to food and beverage.”
Writer Christina Nellemann recently attended an event at The Virgil and couldn’t stop looking at that chandelier.