Creating places for shared spaces
CO-WORKING PULLS UP A CHAIR AT DENVER’S TABLE
Co-working and collaborative office space still makes up a tiny slice of Denver’s overall office market, but 2016 marked a big year for its growth.
Global co-working giant WeWork entered the Denver market this year, opening two hip, modern outposts near downtown, and local players grew their footprint, too, with new and expanded locations.
By rough estimate, Denver added more than 155,000 square feet of co-working space in 2016, and that’s just counting WeWork’s two Denver leases, Shift Workspaces’ new Golden Triangle campus and Thrive Workplace’s expansion in Ballpark.
More space is coming online in 2017, led by executive-suite behemoth Regus, which is bringing its new co-working concept to Denver with the opening of the 33,400square-foot Spaces Denver near Coors Field in February. A 19,000-square-foot coworking space for the construction industry is set to welcome members in January in Adams County.
“Co-working is here and it’s here to stay,” said Hadley Cox, vice president of advisory and transaction services for CBRE Denver. “It will continue to grow and thrive here in Denver.”
The Denver market has about 800,000 square feet of co-working space, Cox said. (For comparison, total office space across the metro area was 111.7 million square feet as of the third quarter, according to CBRE Research.)
Co-working, as CBRE measures it, is a classification without a hard-line definition, Cox said. Some spaces are primarily private offices that share amenities, while at others, most of the work space is wide open and shared.
One common thread, though, is flexibility — you won’t find any five- or 10-year leases in the co-working world. Most allow individual workers and companies to “rent”
space on a month-to-month basis.
“The way people work is changing,” Cox said. “People want options that are flexible, both the independent contractors, the entrepreneurs, the sole proprietor, but also the corporations. They utilize these options as flexible options while they grow or make an entry into a new marketplace.”
With so many new spaces opening, oversaturation, particularly in the downtown core and for private offices, is a concern for Creative Density founder Craig Baute.
“We need to grow into our supply,” said Baute, whose Denver co-working space targets freelancers, remote workers and small teams. “Right now, people are having to do a lot of specials, a lot of deals for private offices. There are vacancies.”
In Baute’s mind, though, Denver is at a “tipping point where a lot of small businesses are going to co-working first instead of going to their previous options.”
“We’ve educated the market,” Baute said.
A new monthly subscription service — like gym-centered ClassPass but for coworking spaces — that Baute is helping to launch in Denver aims to grow that demand even further.
Starting at $49 for four visits a month, Deskpass offers its members the ability to work at more than a dozen independent co-working spaces in the Denver metro area and Fort Collins. The list is growing, too — Frisco’s EVO3 officially signed on to participate just this week, Baute said.
Denver is the third market for the appbased service; Chicago and Los Angeles were the first two and a membership allows access to co-working spaces in all three cities.
“Over 85 percent of people using Deskpass have never used co-working before,” Baute said. “It’s expanding the market.”
Thrive Workplace’s Ballpark and Cherry Creek campuses are among the Denver co-working spaces participating in Deskpass.
Thrive completed an 11,500-square-foot expansion of its Ballpark location this year, adding a lower level with 25 private offices, drop-in work space, a training room and media and editing lounge.
“Our biggest struggle is when someone is interested in co-working but goes to a co-working space that doesn’t fit their needs,” co-founder Chad Johnson said. “This really lays the groundwork to spread the word more and be more organized and help the co-working spaces around us.
“We really feel like together this will make us more powerful.”
Trumaker employees Denice Dampier, left foreground, and Kate Rosenberger work at Thrive Workplace in Denver as another user of Thrive visits the common kitchen. Trumaker makes custom clothing for men.
Noel Phillips, employed at Trumaker, a custom men’s clothing company, works at her space at the Thrive Workplace near Coors Field. Thrive has a second location in Cherry Creek.
90 Day Sales Manager employee Bruce Lund, left, finishes an interview with job-seeker Jon Vander Hoek in the open space at the Thrive Workplace in downtown Denver on Wednesday.