Reopening: Capitol Hill’s Office Nomads leads way in figuring out what COVID-era coworking means

(Image: Office Nomads)

The new world of COVID-19 brings drastically changed landscapes for many Capitol Hill businesses. Born on Boylston 13 years ago, “Seattle’s original coworking community” Office Nomads has left its street behind and transitioned online after closing its office space at the end of July.

“The thread that binds all of our members is that they can work from anywhere,” Office Nomads co-owner and founder Susan Dorsch said. “All of our members prefer to work together and to work in a shared workspace, I do as well, but what we’re doing right now is not about preferences. What we’re doing right now is about safety.”

Office Nomads has long served as a hub for remote workers seeking a communal working environment — including students, entrepreneurs and freelancers — at its Boylston Ave spot. Since the business began in 2007, a burgeoning scene of coworking spaces has emerged on the Hill. But coworking’s day appears to have been a short one. COVID-19 has snuffed out thousands of jobs here and sent thousands more into a semi-permanent “working from home” lifestyle. Office space and social distancing just don’t mix. Continue reading

Broadway also has a coworking startup now — Dibdesk marks Capitol Hill launch

(Image: Dibdesk)

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. Continue reading

With WeWork’s arrival delayed, Capitol Hill indie coworking spaces work together to stay ahead

You can’t work at the Capitol Hill WeWork… yet (Image: CHS)

By Audrey Frigon, CHS Fall Intern

Coworking giant WeWork is coming to Capitol Hill but Susan Dorsch of neighborhood independent work space Office Nomads is not in a panic.

Regarding the growing competition of coworking businesses and spaces in the Seattle area, Dorsch said she is not worried.

“The fact that the coworking business in Seattle is growing is a great thing,” said Dorsch. She hopes more people focus on how beneficial it is for people and companies to work together rather than try to compete with one another.

Expected to open by now but mired in permitting delays with the City of Seattle, coworking giant WeWork is still putting final touches on its five stories of office space on 11th Ave in the preservation incentive-boosted Kelly Springfield Building. A company representative declined to comment on the delay citing a Securities and Exchange Commission-mandated quiet period as the company moves toward its troubled IPO and has watched its value plunge from $65 billion heights. Continue reading

What you’ll find at the Capitol Hill WeWork

A WeWork lobby in Xujiahui (Image: WeWork)

Late last year, news spread that the preservation-boosted Kelly Springfield office building hoped to bring more jobs to Capitol Hill and help spark more daytime activity in Pike/Pine would have one gargantuan tenant — global coworking powerhouse, WeWork.

With construction on the building nearly complete, the finishing touches being put on its restored but still representative auto row-era facade, and the streetscape and rainbows restored, the company’s newest Seattle office-space location is nearly ready to offer up its first “hot desk.” When it does, want-to-be Pike/Pine workers will find five stories of dedicated WeWork space including “light-filled lounges, modern conference rooms, and sleek private offices” and some of the rapidly growing companies newest features like the Made by We store.

WeWork representatives haven’t responded to our inquiries about opening plans but the new facility is accepting sign-ups for tours and workspaces. Last year, the company said to expect workers to arrive “by late summer.” Continue reading

Another Capitol Hill office space project? Dibdesk coming to Broadway

Thanks to ongoing demand and key neighborhood resources like Capitol Hill Station, office space will be a Capitol Hill growth industry in 2019. CHS has learned of another work desk-related venture coming to the neighborhood, this one lined up for new construction at the corner of Broadway and Denny.

There are few public details around the Dibdesk project but the developers of the mixed-use 101 Broadway building say to stay tuned. Continue reading

Coworking giant WeWork coming to Capitol Hill in preservation incentive-boosted Kelly Springfield project — UPDATE

The future of 11th Ave is coworking (Image: Ankrom Moisan)

The preservation-incentive boosted development that is turning the old Capitol Hill Value Village space — and before that, REI, and before that, the Kelly Springfield Motor Truck Company — into an office and retail complex in the heart of Pike/Pine will be filled with desks from coworking startup WeWork.

The Puget Sound Business Journal broke the news Tuesday on the plans for the company to be the sole tenant in the five-story building, filing the project’s 70,000 square feet or so of office space with WeWork’s brand of glossy coworking space, entrepreneurial and “business incubator” services, and, maybe a WeWork company store. Continue reading

Creating Capitol Hill spaces for living — and business — a Q&A with Liz Dunn

(Image: Chophouse Row)

By Carolyn Bick

Much has been made of Capitol Hill developer Liz Dunn’s creation of not one but two preservation-friendly and small business-fostering developments in the neighborhood — the Melrose Market and Chophouse Row. But nearly as many businesses have also put another of Dunn’s creations to use in the neighborhood.

The Cloud Room above 11th Ave’s Chophouse Row restaurants and floors of office space isn’t founder Dunn’s first foray into coworking: she was part of the original Hub coworking space at King’s Cross in London, which inspired her to open Seattle’s Agnes Underground in 2012. But The Cloud Room isn’t meant to become one of many in a chain throughout the country. Dunn said The Cloud Room is more of a love letter to Capitol Hill and its specific energy.

Not every bit of love works out. City Arts Magazine, which sought refuge in The Cloud Room space as it settled in to the hard job of reinventing its business, announced last week it ceasing publication.

The privately owned coworking space is meant to knit together the area’s diverse community that ranges from writers and artists to software-minded techies and Microsoft employees seeking a break from the corporate feel of the office. Since opening in 2015, the nine-employee space currently serves roughly 220 members, not including some occasional drop-ins from corporate partners and businesses from Chophouse Row, which are considered affiliate members of The Cloud Room.

CHS talked with Dunn about her life as a developer on Capitol Hill and what she set out to make with The Cloud Room.

How did you get into development? I just love cities, and I always have. I had just spent 10 years in tech at the beginning of my career, and it was fun, and it was challenging, but it wasn’t really where my heart was, and I’d always wanted to be, I don’t know, an architect, or an urban planner. But the skills that I brought to it were more business skills with a kind of strong amateur skill set. I made it back to school to do different things, but architecture never ended up being one of them, and I think that’s because I accidentally got started on a couple projects, and then I was in it as a developer. Continue reading

You can cowork with Capitol Hill’s new Consulate of Mexico at the Harvard Exit

Monday, the Consulate of Mexico in Seattle opened for its first day of official diplomatic business in the overhauled Harvard Exit.

You can make the old theater your office, too:

The Harvard Exit building (807 E. Roy St) has Class A office space in the heart of Capitol Hill. Offices and dedicated workstations come fully furnished with desk, chair, three drawer cabinet, and desk lamp. The coworking space contains a conference room, kitchenette, bathrooms, shower, shared copier/printer/scanner, and WiFi. You’ll just need to bring your laptop and files.  You’ll have access to your office/workstation 24/7. Dedicated workstations are $600 p/month. Private offices range from $1,300 – $2,100 p/month. Move in on August 1.

If you’re interested, email info@harvardexit.com.

 

Starting on Capitol Hill, The Riveter creating coworking spaces focused on women

When working mothers and friends Amy Nelson and Kim Peltola couldn’t find a workplace the provide support and resources that empowered women and helped them to balance careers and self-care, they decided to create that space.

Their new venture, The Riveter, a coworking, wellness, and community space that focuses on women, but welcomes all will open May 1st on 12th Ave between Pike and Pine. The very real venture will take over an office space that temporarily became the home to a set of reality TV show cast members last summer.

Nelson, a lawyer, and Peltola, a social worker, met about three years ago when both were new mothers. They bonded over the challenges of balancing parenthood, work, and self-care. Continue reading

New Capitol Hill coworking space for artists is a Canadian import

Rather than scratching out their drawings in cramped apartments, local artists of all sorts can rent new studio space on Capitol Hill in an environment where they will be surrounded by other creative types.

Creative Blueprint, a concept first started in Toronto, Canada, has opened its doors on Capitol Hill.

“It’s really important to me to be able to provide access to affordable space,” said Ashley Proctor, the owner of the Capitol Hill coworking space.

Proctor has spent the past few months designing and renovating the Boylston Ave space, which will include nine studios, of varying sizes, and a large central area. The plan, said Proctor, is to allow artists to work in the studios, while leaving the central for events. Proctor worked with Boylston neighbors Office Nomads and founders Jacob Sayles and Susan Dorsch to create the new space.

Some at Creative Blueprint rent a studio long-term, while others might just want to book some space for a few days a week, while still others might want to book by the hour. Proctor hopes that different sorts of artists, visual, performing, or otherwise will use the space, and have a chance to meet and collaborate with others. Ideally, a painter might hear a song being played in the next studio nearby, while a sculptor catches a glimpse of that painting, and in the process the artists draw inspiration from each other.

“You want those happy little collisions to take place,” Proctor said. Continue reading