Monday, March 6, 2017

Coworking Spaces, Should Corridors Seek Them Out?

Ranging from large spaces. Coco, Minneapolis/St. Paul. 
Although we generally think of the tech industry when we think of start-ups, a relatively
new start-up has been emerging for years without much noise in the industry. We are talking about co-working operators and spaces.  

It's really a quite simple business model. Operators are providing a service for those that need a space to work and for those that would benefit from co-habitating this space with others in the same or complementary industries. Operators provide varying levels of space to fit the need of their customer and can offer anything from whole offices to single desks but provide shared amenities such as wi-fi, conference rooms and meeting spaces, kitchens, coffee, in-house cafes, mail and package services, etc. Forbes notes, "The operator provides flexible terms allowing renters to move in and out and upgrade or downgrade with short notice periods. Perhaps the most important characteristic, the operator designs community building programs and events to create a strong business network among its renters."

Co-working operators are not however always seeing profit and have to make due with influxes of renters and cash flow. On the other side, co-working patrons may also deal with nuisances within their spaces such as consistent loud noise, hidden fees, a barrage of rules, dirty facilities, and competitors too close for comfort. 

To the more small and intimate. Central Working, UK.
Who's in the game?

WeWork is the largest co-working operator in the industry with spaces spread around the globe. They definitely enjoy more economies of scale while other small operators like Bathaus, a co-working space in Brooklyn, infuses other income sources into their revenue stream through event space rental and they also enjoy a small niche community feel.

Who needs a co-working space?

Typically those that need a co-working space are young entrepreneurs who need and want job control wherein they can work as much or as little as needed. It is for those that seek community and perhaps need a space outside of a home office to meet clients. "Freelancers, remote workers, and other independent professionals" also fit the bill according to Harvard Business Review. This is likely because they need the shared amenities and are not in the market for their own office just yet. The added benefit of increased networking and collaboration opportunities make co-working spaces appealing to entrepreneurs.

Why does it matter to commercial corridors?

Diversifying a corridor with co-working spaces can bring great results to visitation downtown, including daytime workers who are able to spend money on food and convenience items. Given that the average co-worker is a “college-educated professional within their mid-twenties and late-thirties, primarily working within the creative industries, such as web developing, graphic design and programming, or new media” (Foertsch 2015), there appears to be many similarities between them and Richard Florida's ‘creative class’. Retailers downtown who are expecting an influx of co-workers therefore need to recognize the lifestyle preferences and retail expectations of this customer. According to Richard Florida, the creative class enjoys high quality amenities and stimulating environments that will encourage their own creativity. This might take the form of a vibrant downtown cultural scene with late night and weekend events or mixed-use streets that enable co-workers to shop, work and play locally. 

A 2016 study of WeWork Dumbo and TEEM Harlem, co working spaces in NYC, showed that co-workers are indeed more likely to dine out for lunch or grab a meal locally after work even with food pantries and coffee bars provided within the work space. Food and drinking places therefore need to remain cognizant of the varied working hours of co-workers in order to maximize sales and complement the offerings already made available in the co working spaces.

Examples of coworking spaces:
Industry City
QNS Collective
GreenSpaces NYC
Parisian Coworking Space - Deskopolitan
List of others in NYC

From elegant. Crew Collective, Montreal, Canada.

To eclectic. Conde de Casal, Madrid, Spain.
Co-authored by Nur Asri and Scott Landfried.


  1. Raw Space is a Coworking Collaboration Community.
    Source: coworking office bristol

  2. Creative spaces like this helps creative people fuel their creativity