Co-working office space offers chance to network | January 4, 2017 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

Almanac

News - January 4, 2017

Co-working office space offers chance to network

by Kate Bradshaw

It seems as if everyone has a different idea for how to use the comparatively expansive square-footage in Menlo Park's M-2 area, whether it's indoor badminton courts at Synergy Badminton Club, wine and car storage at AutoVino, or a preschool with an indoor playground at Casa dei Bambini, which recently closed.

Spaces, a 30,000-square-foot co-working and office rental facility that opened July 19 at 101 Jefferson Drive in Menlo Park, has added its take to the eclectic mix, offering paying members an array of work and networking areas.

The Menlo Park Spaces is the first West Coast location of the Amsterdam-based company, Spaces, which offers facilities at 10 locations in Europe, Australia, Asia, and north and central America.

By the end of 2016, the company expected to have added nine more facilities, including in San Francisco at 95 Third St. and in San Jose at 3031 Tisch Way.

"Obviously, Menlo Park is a huge up-and-coming place," said Luna Duarte, area manager for Spaces, when asked why the company picked Menlo Park for its Silicon Valley branch.

The site has about 85 companies that are renting offices and 150 people working there, Ms. Duarte said. The site can accommodate far more, with 400 private desks available for rent, according to the Spaces website.

Co-working spaces are shared working areas where self-employed and work-from-home-types, or, as is expected to be the case at this Menlo Park location, young startup companies, can work and network with other companies and people in the same place.

"I think co-working is such a growing trend because companies are recognizing the benefits of collaboration, not just among team members but with other successful businesses," said Stephen Farley, CEO of Regus, North America, a large office space rental agency that operates Spaces.

Other co-working spaces in Menlo Park are The Pad at 1370 Willow Road and BootUp World at 68 Willow Road.

Inside

The interior of Spaces is split into two areas, with an 8,000-square-foot "business club" area mostly on the first floor, and 23,000 square feet of office space for rent on the first and second floors.

The business club is an open co-working area, where people who pay $250 a month for a membership can work and collaborate at desks, cafe tables, couches and booths, as well as in meeting rooms. That area has a cafe with a full-time barista and a gaming lounge where people can play video games.

"We all have a different way of working," Ms. Duarte said.

The atmosphere of the "business club" seems to be tailored to the mobile worker, who can work from his or her laptop on the go. The decor is modern with a distinct techy-artsy-warehouse vibe, with art and posters on the walls, words written in bold lettering and table centerpieces with decorative games on them, such as a polished wood Connect Four set and a Jenga tower centerpiece.

"We're not a frathouse," said Ms. Duate, who described the intended atmosphere as sophisticated but not stuffy.

Office rental space, by contrast, is more austere, visible through plexiglass walls. The offices come with desks and file lockers and can be decorated as tenants wish, Ms. Duarte said. Private office rent starts at $600 a month.

Two workers who had just moved into one of the new offices were Neil Butani and Bob Perreault of ESQ Business Services, a company that manages ATMs. They said they liked the easy-to-access location from Bayfront Expressway.

Those who pay the membership fee can get access to other workspace locations belonging to Regus, which has 3,000 locations worldwide. Meeting rooms are available for rent, Mr. Farley said. Some events will be open to the public, including author talks and art shows, Ms. Duarte said.

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