Hello from Charlottesville, VA

I own a video production company and we are considering renting a 650 SF suite of offices. The landlord is willing to tear down the interior so that we have one small office and the rest is more or less open space. We were planning to turn the open space into a studio but I am looking into to the idea of making part of it (or possibly all of it) co-working space. The layout is such that when you walk into the suite you would walk directly into a 150 SF area with a few desks, then if you walk around the corner there would be about 400 SF that could be used for studio space, conference room, or more desks.

The problem is that we would need to use this space to film interviews several times per month and we can’t do this if we have 10-15 people working there. We could potentially turn the 400 SF area into its own room with sound proof walls which would be the studio/conference room. This could then be rented out by whom ever would like to use it and we could rent it out for our interviews.

However, I’m not sure how it would then work if everyone else was then left with just 150 SF whenever the studio/conference room was in use. Do you think this is do-able? Or do you think it will be too difficult to make this work?

Hi Michael. Is the interior able to be torn down and set up so the layout is reversed and the recording area is in the smaller of the two rooms? That would be the only way I can see it working effectively.

We wouldn’t be able to use the 150 SF space for shooting interviews as we need more room (300-400 SF). It sounds like it may not work as I think if I had to close the door to the 400 SF room and only the 150 SF was left then some members might get upset.

I think you nailed the real concern here - not so much the division of space but the fact that outside bookings would easily disrupt your coworkers’ day.

650 is a pretty tight constraint for multi-use space unless all of the users are relatively independent of each other. Maybe instead of coworking, some kind of educational/training space for other video production folks in your community?

I’ve read about a few small cowering spaces that were under 500 SF but they did not have the issue with having to close part of it for video shoots. I think that’s a good idea to make it more of a community oriented space that focuses on photo and video. Not sure of a way to monetize that though because around here videographers and photographers don’t seem to pay for studio space very often. I thought about letting people use the space once per month for free and then if they want to use it more often then there would be a fee. I wouldn’t make much money but it would be a good opportunities for people to connect with each other.

I appreciate the responses that were provided last week, they were very helpful. We are moving into the new studio/office next month. I would like to ask for input on the ideas below to find out if they seem reasonable and realistic:

  • Use the 500 SF area for shooting interviews, training videos, etc. until we open the coworking space

  • Once the coworking space is open then we would no longer use this as a studio and would rent studio space from other locations as needed

  • Use Meetup, Facebook groups, Eventbrite, etc. to build a community

  • 10-15 small desks with chairs (may be folding desks so that we can move them around easily)

  • Table with microwave, coffee maker, small fridge, very basic amenities

  • I would like (at least starting out) to have an environment that would resemble this https://vimeo.com/246107

  • Fee structure:

  • 1-2 days per month - $10-$20 per month 8am-6pm access

  • 7 days per week - $100 per month 8am-6pm access

  • 7 days per week - $175 per month 24/7 access