EAST HARRIET — The Jack’s building at 818 W. 46th St. is no longer in a restaurateur’s hands. DevJam, a software developer and a tenant, purchased the building in recent weeks.
DevJam owner David Hussman said he plans to operate his business out of the ground floor, but he is keeping an open floor plan and he’d like to welcome the community to the building in some fashion. “There will be things happening in that space again,” he said. “DevJam by day, community by night. … It’s not just going to be a closed door.”
Hussman lives nearby at 43rd & Garfield, and he has visited Java Jack’s since his daughters were young. On a recent weekday, DevJam staff members were working at laptops at Jack’s old tables.
“It’s so weird being in there,” Hussman said.
Hussman said he offered to move his business to the first floor as he watched former owner Jerry Nelson struggle to sell Jack’s restaurant. Hussman and his wife envision a community forum area in the old retail space, with music events and perhaps weekend food service. For a while, DevJam was even pouring free coffee on Fridays.
The owners of the Chef Shack food truck continue to lease Jack’s kitchen space. Hussman said he sees them as kindred spirits.
“They’re another couple of goofball rebels, where people told us we couldn’t do what [we’re doing today].”
Hussman calls himself an “accidental business man,” and his company appears to be a busy one: it is preparing to launch a new software product, it provides “DevDudes” to serve as consultants, and Hussman coaches companies all over the world. He previously worked as a music producer, and today he helps clients develop software using a similar collaborative method.
“I like the idea of having a place where people can come create things,” he said.