Introduction: a blended community

Greetings,

I've been lurking for about 2 months but it's time to introduce myself - hello all, and thanks for this great resource!

My name is Andie Grace, a cofounding partner The Factory 510 in San Leandro, CA. My biz partner and I have been running our space in beta mode with a few early members, but are about to formally launch this month.

The Factory 510 is located inside a large commercial building that's been operating as a light industrial/office space since the 70's --over 1 mm feet of office/light industrial/warehouse suites on the top floor, and big tenant retail on the ground floor. This opportunity comes our way to create the space here because we were originally hired by building ownership to help reinvision the building as a creative center for artists, tech startups, and makers. We've achieved this through tenant programming, new tenant profiling and acquisition (especially a lot of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing), our marketing and pr support, and lots of events and community building. We're having so much fun!

Out of the building program effort came our idea for launching coworking space here (http://thefactory510.com) which through partnership with building management is able to make short-term use of various suites throughout the building, and we're now adding a coworking/hotdesking center. Like the building itself, The Factory 510 is aimed at this creative Artist/Tech/Maker client profile -- we have a lot of large scale art, filmmakers, photographers, visual artists working here alongside other more traditional commercial tenants.

  Some of our coworking members become long term tenants and move into their own suites over time, and remain part of our community, and some existing long term tenants use our coworking areas for their own meetings and events or day by day coffee klatching. Because the hotdesking area finally got permit clearance (yay!) we can open this month for real -- so aside from getting it all running, a big current concern is creating a true sense of communitas amongst 3 very different user profiles as these communities blend. Our 3 types of users are:

- drop in hot desk/coworking members using semipublic/cowork area in our new atrium
- short term members leasing out private spaces that may convert to long term tenants in their own suite eventually
- existing and new long term tenant users who get access to the atrium space and our events as a benefit of their long term lease

For this reason, the current discussion today about anchor tenants and the challenge of teams vs. individuals in a space comes very timely!

Anyway, already learning so much from all your posts. Thanks to every contributor on the list -- it's great to be here.

Smiles,
Andie Grace
TheFactory510.com

Thanks for the thoughtful intro, Andie!

How’d you get involved in this project? It sounds like this is an interesting hybrid in a lot of ways, I’d love to know more about how it came to be!

-Alex

···

On Tuesday, January 5, 2016, Andie Grace [email protected] wrote:

Greetings,

I’ve been lurking for about 2 months but it’s time to introduce myself - hello all, and thanks for this great resource!

My name is Andie Grace, a cofounding partner The Factory 510 in San Leandro, CA. My biz partner and I have been running our space in beta mode with a few early members, but are about to formally launch this month.

The Factory 510 is located inside a large commercial building that’s been operating as a light industrial/office space since the 70’s --over 1 mm feet of office/light industrial/warehouse suites on the top floor, and big tenant retail on the ground floor. This opportunity comes our way to create the space here because we were originally hired by building ownership to help reinvision the building as a creative center for artists, tech startups, and makers. We’ve achieved this through tenant programming, new tenant profiling and acquisition (especially a lot of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing), our marketing and pr support, and lots of events and community building. We’re having so much fun!

Out of the building program effort came our idea for launching coworking space here (http://thefactory510.com) which through partnership with building management is able to make short-term use of various suites throughout the building, and we’re now adding a coworking/hotdesking center. Like the building itself, The Factory 510 is aimed at this creative Artist/Tech/Maker client profile – we have a lot of large scale art, filmmakers, photographers, visual artists working here alongside other more traditional commercial tenants.

Some of our coworking members become long term tenants and move into their own suites over time, and remain part of our community, and some existing long term tenants use our coworking areas for their own meetings and events or day by day coffee klatching. Because the hotdesking area finally got permit clearance (yay!) we can open this month for real – so aside from getting it all running, a big current concern is creating a true sense of communitas amongst 3 very different user profiles as these communities blend. Our 3 types of users are:

  • drop in hot desk/coworking members using semipublic/cowork area in our new atrium

  • short term members leasing out private spaces that may convert to long term tenants in their own suite eventually

  • existing and new long term tenant users who get access to the atrium space and our events as a benefit of their long term lease

For this reason, the current discussion today about anchor tenants and the challenge of teams vs. individuals in a space comes very timely!

Anyway, already learning so much from all your posts. Thanks to every contributor on the list – it’s great to be here.

Smiles,

Andie Grace

TheFactory510.com

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com

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The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.
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OMG Andie, is the building you are in the old Caterpillar Tractor plant? That takes me back. There is an old story about that location; the owner was about to go bust from rising prices and so on, and local businesses passed the hat and gave the oweber 20K to stay in the community. It’s a great story.

I have hammered out a model not dissimilar to that which works well in smaller commmunities (it does not work well in large cities so far). The for us has been to find the coworkers as they are still working at the kitchen table – and San Leandro has a long history of that also. If you keep your barrier to entry low at entry and make stepping up from one level to another easy and painless, then it does start to work. We also found that making it possible to step back as necessary is also key in this particular approach.

Absolutely vital for us have been:

  1. to treat all coworkers with equal dignity; every one of them, from the ones who are travelling and have no more connection to the communty thatn a correspondence address or events membership;

  2. to keep bringing them in contact with each other by any means necessary; :slight_smile:

  3. to encourage a culture of looking in the community first for whatever you need. I have found tht the best way to start with this is to do it yourself;

  4. to encourage a culture in which we acknowledge that none of us is good at everything, so together we can do it better;

  5. to speak, think, communicate, breathe, and live the notion that it is all one seamless solution, from the kitchen table/garage to an international enterprise.

Artists can be challenging in terms of community, boundaries are important in my experience it is the nature of an srtist to seek boundaries and kick againstr them very hard. :slight_smile:

I find that so far the best approach to hotdeskers has been to treat them as guests to our home, as it were,

I also have partnerships witih building owners, who “get” the community thing in varying degrees. Ahem.

1 Like

That’s the one – it’s a fascinating location given the retail hub
on the ground floor, too and the emerging emphasis on art in San
Leandro that’s coming from our City Hall.

We are precisely aiming at the creative small biz startup who's

outgrowing the kitchen table. We hope that our low price points and
big emphasis on creative, flexible arrangements depending on the
user’s need will help keep the barrier to entry low. It’s a joy to
be able to give a leg up to an artist or maker with an idea, and to
be able to host them side by side with high end users from the tech
and manufacturing fields – sparks are already flying between them,
and the fit seems very natural so far.

Thanks for sharing these 5 points! This is a great set of

philosophies…so relevant a reflection for me right now.

-Andie
···

On 1/6/16 1:14 AM, Jeannine van der
Linden wrote:

    OMG Andie, is the building you are in the old

Caterpillar Tractor plant? That takes me back. There is an old
story about that location; the owner was about to go bust from
rising prices and so on, and local businesses passed the hat and
gave the oweber 20K to stay in the community. It’s a great
story.

      I have hammered out a model not dissimilar to that which

works well in smaller commmunities (it does not work well in
large cities so far). The for us has been to find the
coworkers as they are still working at the kitchen table –
and San Leandro has a long history of that also. If you keep
your barrier to entry low at entry and make stepping up from
one level to another easy and painless, then it does start to
work. We also found that making it possible to step back as
necessary is also key in this particular approach.

Absolutely vital for us have been:

      1) to  treat all coworkers with equal dignity; every one of

them, from the ones who are travelling and have no more
connection to the communty thatn a correspondence address or
events membership;

      2) to keep bringing them in contact with each other by any

means necessary; :slight_smile:

      3) to encourage a culture of looking in the community first

for whatever you need. I have found tht the best way to start
with this is to do it yourself;

      4) to encourage a culture in which we acknowledge that none

of us is good at everything, so together we can do it better;

      5) to speak, think, communicate, breathe, and live the

notion that it is all one seamless solution, from the kitchen
table/garage to an international enterprise.

      Artists can be challenging in terms of community,

boundaries are important in my experience it is the nature of
an srtist to seek boundaries and kick againstr them very hard.
:slight_smile:

      I find that so far the best approach to hotdeskers has been

to treat them as guests to our home, as it were,

      I also have partnerships witih building owners, who "get"

the community thing in varying degrees. Ahem.

  Visit this forum on the web at [http://discuss.coworking.com](http://discuss.coworking.com)

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Jeannine, that list rocks. Perfectly said.

···

------------------
*The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.*
Join the list: http://coworkingweekly.com
Listen to the podcast: http://dangerouslyawesome.com/podcast