Designed as a pilot project in a plan to create a network of alternatives to “big, fancy coworking spaces that come with big price tags and long-term commitments,” a new office space venture is marking its launch on Capitol Hill this week with no signs its “big, fancy” competitor will open its new neighborhood location anytime soon.
Dibdesk will celebrate its grand opening Wednesday afternoon on the E Denny side of the 101 Broadway apartments next to its neighbor Starbucks.
The coworking startup is taking a no-frills approach to serving Capitol Hill’s office needs.
“Our concept is there is this big void between a cafe with noise and distraction and the other side of things in renting a desk or office,” Aaron Klaus, operations manager for the company, tells CHS.
That “other side” Klaus is talking about is WeWork, the infamously financially troubled coworking and office space provider, lined up to fill the entirety of 11th Ave’s preservation-boosted Kelly Springfield Building development.
In September, CHS reported on WeWork’s plan to give over one of its Kelly Springfield floors to Microsoft but, other than some new marketing signage that has gone up, the building has remained dead quiet since the announcement and as WeWork has shed billions in valuation.
Capitol Hill already has a relatively robust set of coworking players including veteran Office Nomads,
Dibdesk, Klaus says, is taking a stripped down, tech-first approach centered on an efficient, well-apportioned and comfortable office setting, and “access technology” to keep things running smoothly with a minimum of oversight.
“Our biggest challenge is creating a space that is not staffed constantly but keeping a high security level,” Klaus said.
The immediate goal is a coworking space tricked out with an app for users to check in on available space and easy come and go access. Klaus said the behind the scenes bells and whistles include an infrared system to help Dibdesk know how many workers are in its space, where they are, and, in general, what they are doing.
Dibdesk is starting with two levels of pricing, “dibEasy,” with “full unlimited access to the space, with add-on amenities available for an additional fee, including huddle room rentals and guest access invites” for $95 a month. “dibPro” will run you $195 a month and includes free “huddle room” reservations, 5 free guests, and other benefits.
The longterm goal is to create more Dibdesks. A hoped-for “value proposition” for the Dibdesk plan, Klaus said, is offering multiple locations for its members to choose from and real-time availability information in the Dibdesk app.
“We’re focusing regionally right now,” Klaus said. “We’re a startup, if we’re successful, we plan on expanding to other tech centric cities.”
As a subsidiary of the building’s owner, commercial real estate developer Henbart, Dibdesk isn’t part of the company’s efforts to fill its own commercial spaces. Dibdesk is born of an opportunity, Klaus says, and a large potential customer base — “those folks that are working from home at least one day a week, want to get out, get face time with other people, socialize, and have a space to work,” Klaus says.
Dibdesk is located at 840 E Denny Way. You can learn more at dibdesk.com.
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