When you walk into the coffee shop at Ada’s Technical Books on any given day, you’re likely to see a slew of people who have converted their cafe table into a makeshift office. But now Ada’s is looking to give its patrons a new way of getting work done without sacrificing the coffee shop aesthetic that they love by building a new coworker space upstairs called The Office.
“We talk a lot about building community here at Ada’s, and we already needed an office in general here, so we thought it’d be great to it in a coworker environment,” said Danielle Hulton, who co-owns Ada’s with her husband David. “Since we already have a lot of people come in the cafe almost every day to work, and we thought it’d be great to have a place that’s more dedicated to working and less distracting than a cafe.”
“There’s a reason why people like to work at cafes; the atmosphere is really great, so it seemed like a really good opportunity to give people a coworking space at the place that’s already their favorite place to work,” Hulton said.
The Office space is being designed by Board and Vellum, also responsible for the clean, open design of Ada’s Technical Books, and will follow a similar scheme. Where the shop and cafe drew inspiration from Ada Lovelace, the new work space will turn to British computing pioneer Alan Turing for its spirit. It’s also a sign of yet more forward thinking from the couple dedicated to building the model of a sustainable, modern book store.
Ada’s arrived on 15th Ave E in fall 2013 after the Hultons made a big leap and bought the dilapidated old home of Horizon Books to refurbish, enhance and overhaul into a home for their technical book shop. At the time, we asked them what they had planned for all the extra space being built around the new shop. Now we know.
Once The Office opens later this year, Hulton estimates that approximately 20 people will be able to use the space concurrently, and while the specifics are still being worked out, Hulton is currently planning on implementing daily, monthly, and possibly hourly rates for people to use the space. Once completed, patrons will be able to order food from the cafe and possibly even get a discount on select products.
“We’re looking for a true coworking space where people can be inspired by each other, work together on projects, or work on their own thing on their own time,” Hulton said. “We hope it’s a truly open space, and give people the opportunity to bounce off each other. There are a lot of models for coworking, but that’s kind of closer to the original model where you’re doing your own thing but in a space where you can be social if you want and be inspired by others around you.”
Coworking has become a fundamental element for the Capitol Hill freelance, start-up, high tech, creative and beyond workforce. Pioneer Office Nomads doubled in size on Boylston Ave near Pine in 2012 while popular Capitol Hill developer Liz Dunn jumped in with the movement with her Agnes Underground below Pike at 12th. Recently, high profile developments like the super green Bullitt Center included coworking in its plans and you can expect Dunn’s under-construction office space + retail + mews project on 11th Ave to do the same.
According to Hulton, the upsurge in the number of spaces like these and their subsequent success is the result of the type of people who have come to populate the hill, particularly twenty-somethings who are just getting their feet wet with their prospective careers.
“People on Capitol Hill tend to be in their early careers, and are doing their own thing,” said Hulton. “They’re entrepreneurs, or start-ups, or they’re working remotely and they have a unique way of looking at work that doesn’t require a 9-to-5 at an office. It’s also kind of generational; there’s a lot of papers about how this is a more popular work route for my generation rather than my parents. It’s a mode of work right now that fits in with the culture.”
Currently, Hulton is expecting pricing plans to be finalized by late-April ahead of a summer opening for The Office. But until then, Hulton advises potential coworkers to submit pre-applications on The Office’s website and help secure a spot early on.
“We’re hoping to have an idea of who is interested in working there to help create a really great community, at least with the monthly spaces,” Hulton said. “It’s going to be limited spaces, so it’ll help to be able to look at the people interested to get a good mix of people as a starter for that community.”
To keep track of progress — and raise your hand for your own spot — check out theoffice.adasbooks.com.