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  • Here is our third and final podcast about coworking space development with Brittanie Campbell-Turner of Constructrr.com 

    This episode is an interview with Wendy Spreenberg who is great resource for her expertise in workspace as a service.

    We discuss in this 3 part series, the most important things that I thought would be useful to the any one who is trying to start a co-working community.

    In this last part of the series, Wendy and I talk about the making sure the business model is sustainable to ensure the business owner’s success.

    Find the previous episodes of this Co-Working series at constructrr.com/11 and constructrr.com/12

    February 16th, 2017

    Posted In: Coworking, News, Real Estate, Small Business, Workspace

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    When developing coworking spaces in partnership with our clients, we come across the most amazing (and frequently refreshing) perspectives on how to market and operate coworking spaces.

    To be sure, we love working with entrepreneurs – whether first timers or veterans. We ALWAYS learn something from each project we manage. Lifelong learning energizes us and keeps us in grounded in reality.

    Still, this quick list features marketing strategies that caused us to internalize a “huh, that’s interesting”:

    • A new coworking space in the CBD of a major market with many competitors (traditional shared space and coworking alike) put no money into a marketing budget, believing a strong strategy was to have a college student stand in front of the building wearing a sandwich board, handing out flyers about the new space

     

    • New coworking space in another major market that relied solely on social media to drive traffic to and awareness of the space. Ownership was operating the space as a secondary business and was too busy to build a community from Meetups and outbound networking events. Expected “if we build it, they will come”

     

    • Established space that pivoted to featuring only non-members as speakers and panelists at lunch and learns and after-hours networking events

     

    • Spaces that reject all corporate users (corporate users is a growing population). Context is key but worth reconsidering

     

    • Constant use of shock and awe language (as in something “sucks” or equivalent) in marketing tools. Over time it becomes ineffective and narrows your target demographic options

    We have worked with each of the above clients and have been successful at coaching a few into alternate directions. In our experience, clients that did not move from their marketing position above are no longer in operation.

    January 31st, 2017

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    Planting a Flag to post periodically what we encounter as interesting experiences, exchanges, topics, insights, etc. that create a little humor along the way during our journey within the Coworking sphere.

    Our combined experience has taken us across Europe and North America working with start-ups and those looking to reposition properties of all types to a more collaborative model.

     

    coworking words

    If the walls could talk…

    Posts may range from the fairly common (consulting client uses less than 70% of recommended best practices then blames vendor for poor outcome) to the truly bizarre (trophy grizzly bear in attack posture greeting visitors in reception).

    What we can say is that, since the turn of the millennium, life in collaborative workspace has been a wild ride and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

    This train is leaving the station so climb aboard!

    February 10th, 2016

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, General, Real Estate, Small Business, Workspace

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    We, along with thousands, are closely observing the growth of WeWork, especially when it comes to the sheer size of each location they are adding or expanding upon. So many will either feel threatened (Regus) or will see opportunity to compete. There will also continue to be fallout from an uptick in location saturation and not all coworking spaces will survive.

    And, not unlike other observers close to the industry, we do not attribute WeWork’s model to the pure coworking form as it debuted earlier this decade.

    It seems a no-brainer to want to see this as the next easy-money real estate play and get in yourself.

    So what’s left to say?

    A bit more.

    We both appreciate WeWork increasing awareness and share some cautionary notes to those considering jumping into the now-increasing pool of new entrants:

    1- we’re delighted that our consultancy is becoming an “overnight success” after 15 years based on the increased market awareness of coworking and the desire to open spaces that are financially sustainable (we share the “how it works”)

    2-caution that, due to low barriers of entry, it seems easy to simply open a space, charge 3-4 times the rent being paid (or an equivalent of debt service) and believe it will magically succeed (there is a lot more to it)

    3-the “secret sauce” of this model, similar to all hospitality businesses, is a combination of the negotiation of strong lease terms AND the team that is hired to manage the community

    4-coworking or collaborative workspaces do NOT have to take down 40,000 SF+ spaces to be successful

    5-it’s important to take advantage of the NO COST TO YOU services of a Real Estate Tenant Representative in finding your space, whether to lease or buy (see #3)

    Lastly, consider hiring a professional team to support your efforts, including your attorney, accountant and of, course us, as in YES!, to allow you time to sort through the potential pitfalls even before getting this off the ground.

    hire.professional

    February 10th, 2016

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, Office Business Centers, Real Estate, Small Business, Workspace

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    LEXC Event, Tribune Article, Signature Offices, Premier Business Centers, The Bureau Chicago open new facilities in Chicago

    Chicago has become an epicenter of coworking culture. Following the much-touted launch of 1871 in May 2012, scores of coworking spaces have opened in Chicago.

    As in many cities, there are multiple interpretations of the coworking model: industry-specific/take everyone; 3,000 s.f./15,000 s.f.; 90% open plan/30% open plan. The fun is experiencing the variety of options and passion of the owners.

    One of the most passionate pioneers and a leading voice in coworking nationally is Jamie Russo, founder and owner of Enerspace Coworking in  Chicago & Palo Alto. Jamie opened her space in February 2012, in advance of 1871’s launch.  Enerspace’s tag line “Work Well TM” reflects their mission to “give members a place and the tools they need to blend work and wellness”

    Jamie is also the President of LEXC– League of Extraordinary Coworking Spaces, a curated group of Coworking spaces.  Later this month, LEXC is hosting it’s Fall meetup  in Chicago. Per Jamie : “LEXC is a global group of coworking space owners and our mission is to share best practices among the group and to provide mobility for our members.”  During the Meetup days, there will be an invitation-only Happy Hour hosted by new coworking space The Bureau Chicago and sponsored by SITE REsolutions.  Contact us  – info@siteresolutions.com for additional details.

    The Chicago Tribune is rolling out a Chicago Coworking Directory by the end of the month along with an article about Chicago’s coworking community.

    Signature Offices just opened in the CNA Building. It is a new, vibrant take on traditional business center workspace.  The South Loop, just North of Congress at 33 S. Wabash, has sorely needed a well-run option.  Bill Vernon, industry veteran, offers just that. Contact Bill to book a tour: bvernon@sigoffices.com

    Premier Business Centers launches their Chicago flagship location at 200 W. Madison. Premier is the largest US-owned business center operator, with 75 locations (and growing) as of this announcement. The Chicago opening is set for mid-October. Contact Kassidy Mays to arrange a site visit: kmays@pbcenters.com

    The Bureau Chicago is the newest entrant into the Chicago Collaborative Workspace market, located at 1420 S. Michigan. Very easy street parking and a beautiful contemporary setting. Contact Azul Vazquez for a free day pass and to arrange a tour: avazquez@thebureauchicago.com .

    Chicago has been a vibrant and busy city for coworking and this September is just a small sample of the dramatic growth in coworking space since 2012.

    SITE REsolutions/YES! Your Exceptional Space TM  is on the front lines of this resurgence, currently working with landlords and developers of commercial and residential space to transform their holdings into a more integrated, and profitable, solution.

    We will share more in the coming weeks about our case studies and observations.

    If you’d like more information for your development, we welcome you to contact us at info@siteresolutions.com

     

    September 9th, 2015

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, Real Estate

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    Advocacy for a fully-evolved Customer Experience for all users of collaborative workspace is now in high gear.  The balancing act between open-plan, focused work, working together, working alone together can be argued incessantly.  Corporate America is still working to untangle the Gordian’s knot. A universal option for all workspaces is to consider the elements in our infographic:

     

    Slide1

     

    share your comments and thoughts with us!

    August 20th, 2014

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, Real Estate, Small Business, Workspace

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    View the latest in Crain’s Chicago Real Estate Daily.

    October 29th, 2013

    Posted In: Blog, General, Real Estate, Uncategorized

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    More details found in this recent Chicago Tribune article.

    Certainly this trend is following the growth of the rental market and the mobile workforce in the US.

    October 24th, 2013

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, General, Office Business Centers, Real Estate, Workspace

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    An article authored by Signe Brewster in Gigaom features information about a Maker’s Space pilot program featuring 3-D printers and supporting technology in Chicago’s Harold Washington Library.

    DSCN0154-225x300The pilot program will run through year-end 2013. Once evaluated the program may continue. Let’s hope our Mayor, Rahm Emmanuel takes a leap of faith to renew for at least another year.

    This effort simply enhances on the already-significant success of the 14-month-old 1871 tech incubator in the Merchandise Mart, the rise of several coworking spaces in Chicago, Motorola’s move to the City, the simultaneous expansion of Google into the West Randolph corridor and can feed greater interest in the Mayor’s vision of establishing a biotech incubator over the next year.

    Let’s keep this momentum Chicago!

    July 9th, 2013

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, General, Real Estate, Small Business, Workspace

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    Harvard Business Review recently published a captivating article by
    Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones regarding the careful thought firms such as Arup and Waitrose have taken to create an amazing workspace culture.
    From their article: ”We call this “the organization of your dreams.” In a nutshell, it’s a company where individual differences are nurtured; information is not suppressed or spun; the company adds value to employees, rather than merely extracting it from them; the organization stands for something meaningful; the work itself is intrinsically rewarding; and there are no stupid rules.”
    As we look to find our own work/life balance issues, we understand as well that Gen Y is willing to take a smaller paycheck in order to have more flexibility.
    We’ll continue to share interesting findings in workspace evolution.
    Happy Summer!

    June 18th, 2013

    Posted In: Blog, Coworking, HR - Your Team, Office Business Centers, Real Estate, Uncategorized, Workspace

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