CHARLOTTE, N.C. There was plenty of speculation when shipping crates started to rise on the parking lot at Third and Tryon streets in uptown Charlotte last week. Storage crates? Big Legos?
The real tipoff: the familiar color scheme of Google.
The technology company opened the doors Monday to its home for the Democratic National Convention. Local business Boxman Studios was behind its construction.
The facility offers free Wi-Fi to the public as well as plenty of sofas and chairs in air-conditioned comfort, a much-needed relief from Charlottes heat and humidity.
Google Bytes, a refreshment bar at the site, features soft drinks, iced coffee and other beverages.
There were also several interactive displays, as well as televisions showing coverage of the convention and a studio. Google set up cellphone charging stations.
Visitors can also see one of Googles self-driving cars outside the tent.
Boxman Studios, started in Charlotte in 2008 by David Campbell, specializes in recycling shipping containers for hospitality spaces, housing, mobile classrooms and other uses. The company built a structure for Google at the TED Conference in Long Beach, Calif., this spring. Campbell said he started talking with Google about creating a structure for the DNC soon after.
Conversations continued through the summer. Boxman Studios finally got the green light to build the structure about a month before the DNC.
It was a great opportunity for us to partner with them again, Campbell said. They chose us to help them create the environment they were looking for.
Boxman Studios worked with production company MKG to design the structure, which Campbell said was one of the largest the company has built. The structure was then fabricated in Boxman Studios Charlotte warehouse.
We always try to push ourselves and try to do something unique, he said.
Campbell said the company had to keep the project a secret for the last month and was happy to reveal it to the public Monday.
Googles uptown home will be open Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Google Bytes operates from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday. It will open Thursday at 10 a.m.
After the convention, Boxman Studios will break down the structure and take it back to its warehouse in Charlotte to be repurposed for future projects.
With a partner like Google, you just hope that we can help make this week special for Charlotte and Google, said Campbell. I think its going to be an iconic place for people to gather.