Starting up a coworking space in Nashville

Greetings all!
My wife and I are in the final planning phases of starting our new coworking venture in Nashville Tn. We have several in town currently, but not anywhere on our side of town. So far the initial response from the community as a whole has been all positive. We are working on the financial projections, size of space needed (our first building was put under contract prior to us being able to move forward)

The questions I’m having trouble finding answers to are

What is the average size of a coworking space vs how many memberships offered in that location.

What is the average vacancy factor in a coworking space. I know this number will most likely be geographically specific, but we are working with a commercial real estate broker/architect to plan out the most efficient use of the space at hand so “close enough” should do. WE don’t want to lock in on 10000 square feet if we can offer the same experience to our members with 6000

Thanks for your help in advance

"we are working with a commercial real estate broker/architect to plan out the most efficient use of the space"

Word of warning: unless these folks have coworking experience, you're very likely to get...undesireable results. Its not that their expertise is wrong it's that they have lots of defaults based on workspaces designed by employers, for employees. This doesn't translate well to coworking and community experiences, and I've spent a lot of time helping people "undo" these defaults.

Efficiency is part of the equation, but I would argue that it's not the goal. Experience is the goal. What are people going to see and feel when they walk in the door? What will they see from each seat? What is line of sight? What isn't? How will sound travel? Where will foot traffic be high? Where will it be low?

A couple of common mistakes I see made in the name of efficiency:

- work benches/desks facing the wall. Good for space use, terrible for member experience.
- not enough areas where people can sit without a walkway behind them (again, good for space use, bad for member experience)
- narrow hallways with offices on both sides (I like to call this "the cruise ship"

Regardless of who you work with in the professional capacity... the BIG opportunity is to involve the community in the design process. This could be as simple as sharing potential floorplan and asking people where they think things might go? Keep in mind, the goal here isn't to do everything they say/want, it's to use your questions to spark discussion where you can listen and synthesize and help them feel invested in the project.

As for 6k vs 10k sq fr, I can say with confidence (I've run Indy Hall at 2k, 4k, 8k, 10k, and 14k sq ft variants) that generally speaking, anything you can do in 10k sq ft you can do in 6k.

For getting started, I Would personally choose a 6k option that has options to expand in the future. 10k sq ft that starts or mostly empty isnt a great experience for your founding members, unless you are sure you can make it feel populated every day.

Occupancy is massively variable by your community and membership structure, location, even seasonality. Even how people define "occupancy"! Ive seen such wide ranging answers to this question I could not imagine trying to project this on averages. It's another reason I encourage people to start smaller with options to grow.

In terms of choosing a space itself, I would be much more concerned with the layout of however many square feet, how much flexibility you have in different ways to lay it out, the amount of natural light, ease of access to get into the space, nearby amenmities (restaurants, cafes, etc) and most importantly how your community can be involved in making it their own along the way :slight_smile:

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On Aug 2, 2017, 10:23 PM -0400, [email protected], wrote:

Greetings all!
My wife and I are in the final planning phases of starting our new coworking venture in Nashville Tn. We have several in town currently, but not anywhere on our side of town. So far the initial response from the community as a whole has been all positive. We are working on the financial projections, size of space needed (our first building was put under contract prior to us being able to move forward)

The questions I'm having trouble finding answers to are

What is the average size of a coworking space vs how many memberships offered in that location.
What is the average vacancy factor in a coworking space. I know this number will most likely be geographically specific, but we are working with a commercial real estate broker/architect to plan out the most efficient use of the space at hand so "close enough" should do. WE don't want to lock in on 10000 square feet if we can offer the same experience to our members with 6000

Thanks for your help in advance

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Hi!
For membership density, you can search this group for the word “capacity” and get a lot of good threads.

I am also starting a cohort style group centered on my ebook for people who are planning coworking spaces. The ebook is for people anywhere in the Dream to Grand Opening phase. The first cohort starts on September 7th. http://coherecommunity.com/launch-checklist-for-a-coworking-space

Angel

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On Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 8:23:44 PM UTC-6, [email protected] wrote:

Greetings all!
My wife and I are in the final planning phases of starting our new coworking venture in Nashville Tn. We have several in town currently, but not anywhere on our side of town. So far the initial response from the community as a whole has been all positive. We are working on the financial projections, size of space needed (our first building was put under contract prior to us being able to move forward)

The questions I’m having trouble finding answers to are

What is the average size of a coworking space vs how many memberships offered in that location.

What is the average vacancy factor in a coworking space. I know this number will most likely be geographically specific, but we are working with a commercial real estate broker/architect to plan out the most efficient use of the space at hand so “close enough” should do. WE don’t want to lock in on 10000 square feet if we can offer the same experience to our members with 6000

Thanks for your help in advance

We are pretty set on the geographical boundaries where we want to locate our space. The area is getting ready to go through a Tier 1 revitalization push from our local government. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Right now we are very limited in what space is available, and the property owners know whats coming down the pike and are sitting on things. We met with one local owner who has 23 properties in the area, not willing to sell one of them (which is what the investors we’ve met with so far would like to have happen). Then there is the 6 to 8 month backlog of permits from the same government.

Once everything is said and done the neighborhood will be awesome, and our coworking space will be a central part of it once the growing pains are passed.

···

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 9:23:44 PM UTC-5, [email protected] wrote:

Greetings all!
My wife and I are in the final planning phases of starting our new coworking venture in Nashville Tn. We have several in town currently, but not anywhere on our side of town. So far the initial response from the community as a whole has been all positive. We are working on the financial projections, size of space needed (our first building was put under contract prior to us being able to move forward)

The questions I’m having trouble finding answers to are

What is the average size of a coworking space vs how many memberships offered in that location.

What is the average vacancy factor in a coworking space. I know this number will most likely be geographically specific, but we are working with a commercial real estate broker/architect to plan out the most efficient use of the space at hand so “close enough” should do. WE don’t want to lock in on 10000 square feet if we can offer the same experience to our members with 6000

Thanks for your help in advance

Have you considered locating your space just outside the edge of the revitalization area? Fort Collins has seen great success activating “blighted” neighborhoods with coworking and shared spaces of all kinds. It keeps the rent down but positions you well as new things pop up around you.

Angel

···

On Friday, August 4, 2017 at 12:19:20 PM UTC-6, [email protected] wrote:

We are pretty set on the geographical boundaries where we want to locate our space. The area is getting ready to go through a Tier 1 revitalization push from our local government. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Right now we are very limited in what space is available, and the property owners know whats coming down the pike and are sitting on things. We met with one local owner who has 23 properties in the area, not willing to sell one of them (which is what the investors we’ve met with so far would like to have happen). Then there is the 6 to 8 month backlog of permits from the same government.

Once everything is said and done the neighborhood will be awesome, and our coworking space will be a central part of it once the growing pains are passed.

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 9:23:44 PM UTC-5, [email protected] wrote:

Greetings all!
My wife and I are in the final planning phases of starting our new coworking venture in Nashville Tn. We have several in town currently, but not anywhere on our side of town. So far the initial response from the community as a whole has been all positive. We are working on the financial projections, size of space needed (our first building was put under contract prior to us being able to move forward)

The questions I’m having trouble finding answers to are

What is the average size of a coworking space vs how many memberships offered in that location.

What is the average vacancy factor in a coworking space. I know this number will most likely be geographically specific, but we are working with a commercial real estate broker/architect to plan out the most efficient use of the space at hand so “close enough” should do. WE don’t want to lock in on 10000 square feet if we can offer the same experience to our members with 6000

Thanks for your help in advance