It's all about location, location, location.
You've researched the market and gauged the local competition. There's no doubt about it —freelancers, startups, and entrepreneurs are clamoring for coworking space. So how exactly do you go about selecting the space itself?
Go to Where The People Are
Urban spaces are more dense in population and mean greater demand. Sure, prices in the heart of the downtown area may be pricey, but the number of potential tenants can balance that out. If downtown isn't viable to your pocketbook, look at the fringes of the downtown area, and check out nearby "artsy" areas known for attracting creatives and freelancers. These areas have cred with the TAMI (technology, advertising, media, and information) crowd. Of course, your tenant niche will have some impact on your preferred location. If you're targeting in-and-out jet-setters, consider a spot closer to the airport. Or if sports is your niche, put yourself close to major stadiums or training centers.
Give The People What They Want
Nearby amenities and infrastructure are essential. Set up shop in the right location, and you've in effect created your own corporate campus for a fraction of the outlay. An ideal location should have solid transit, parking and preferably bike access. Proximity to restaurants, cafes, gyms, banks and other daily necessities can also push the convenient lifestyle factor. Safety is also a must for your tenants and the equipment you'll be investing in.
The ideal location should offer:
- Reasonable rental prices
- Long-term lease (or the possibility of purchase)
- Street frontage and signage
- Affordable, available parking
- Transit access and convenience
- Cafes and restaurants
- Nearby green spaces
- Banks, post offices, shops
- Safety and/or police presence
Choose The Right Kind Of Space
The perfect location is a great start, but the building itself needs to suit your needs. Take some time to consider your tenants' comfort and preferred working style. An ultra-modern, glass tower may suit traditional business types, whereas an industrial loft-style space may be better for techies and creatives.
In addition, your building should:
- be appropriately zoned
- be up to code
- have street appeal
- be in good condition
- have updated infrastructure
- be large enough
- have room for growth
If your building meets all those requirements, review:
- the size of the space
- the size and number of windows
- noise issues
- climate control/HVAC
- lift access
- exterior/terrace access
- kitchens, bathrooms and common areas
- storage availability
- telecommunications and connectivity
If the place, space, and price are all right, it's time to get the ball rolling by getting your financing in order. Stay tuned — we'll be covering the how-tos of coworking financing next week.
This is part of a series on setting up a successful coworking space. If you're planning a coworking space and need some expert input, get in touch!
Coworking: The Ultimate Guide to Succeeding In The Coworking Business
Shared Office Space: Five Business Lessons From The C-Suite
Opening a Coworking Space: First Research Market Conditions and Local Competition