When you think about the cost to open a coworking space in your building, what number comes to mind?
Ninety dollars per square foot? A hundred dollars? One hundred and fifty?
No matter what number you thought up, I can pretty much guarantee that you didn’t think $10 per square foot.
But it’s entirely possible to open a high-quality coworking space in your building for $10 per square foot—or less. I know this because Launch has done it before—including for our latest new opening.
How is this possible?
It all comes down to your building, your operator, and your ability to see beyond your preconceived ideas.
Let me explain.
How Launch Opened a Coworking Space for Under $10 per Square Foot
We recently worked with a landlord who just had an entire floor become vacant again. So, they wanted to see if we could transform it into a coworking space for them.
We went in to take a look.
The floor was built out perfectly for a flexible workspace. It was a 23,000-square-foot space that was previously occupied by an office tenant.
Based on what already existed within the space, we knew we needed to incorporate the following:
- Fresh paint
- New carpet
- Launch’s technology
- Small touch-ups
- Adding a few small appliances
And, just like that, we had a coworking space ready to go for $8 per square foot.
How to Decide Whether You Can Open a Coworking Space for $10 per Square Foot or Less
That explanation might seem simplified—and, in fairness, it is. There was a ton of analysis and discussion about what was already in place, what needed to be there, and what wasn’t necessary.
But ultimately, the biggest inhibitor that keeps most commercial landlords from inexpensively opening coworking spaces in their buildings is that they can’t always see the potential that already exists.
Knowing what to look for in a building isn’t a skill that we picked up overnight. It took a ton of trial and error and it required us to create a formula for what will make a coworking space successful.
We paid the dumb tax—but, in the process, we developed a keen eye for opportunities that most other brands don’t ever consider.
Many commercial landlords will look at a traditional office space and assume that, to turn it into a coworking space, they’ll need to gut it and rebuild it all.
But that’s not always the case.
In many instances, you can renovate it. You can do it in phases. You can preserve some of what exists and make small modifications to get it to where it needs to be. There are tradeoffs to this. You need to know the pain points of the owner. I know right now that capital is a pain point for many owners.
There are a million ways to do this for a very reasonable capital expenditure.
It’s all a matter of getting creative.
The Key: Avoid Looking at Your Building in a Vacuum
When it comes to office space, it’s essential to see the forest for the trees.
What do I mean?
Your asset isn’t a single floor of space. It’s an entire building.
Not long ago, Launch worked with a building owner who got a couple of chunks of space back. We were looking at about 25,000 square feet of finished, unfurnished space. It was quite well done and it didn’t need a lot of build-out.
So, we started talking about furniture, and, through our discussions, the asset manager mentioned that they were getting two full floors back in a few months—and both tenants were leaving their furniture.
And, because of that, we solved two problems:
- The landlord didn’t have to worry about what to do with the leftover furniture when a new tenant came in
- The landlord saved a ton of capital by repurposing furniture from elsewhere in their asset
If you’re feeling overwhelmed because you have space opening up and you don’t know how you’re going to lease it or where you’ll find the money to transform it into coworking, take a breath.
Now more than ever, it’s possible to open a brand-new coworking location in your space for under $10 per square foot.
I’m not talking about folding chairs and dial-up internet—I’m talking about an upper-middle-class space that’s well taken care of and well-run.
Find a Partner to Help You Find the Potential
If you have vacancies in your building, you can work with what you’ve got and make a very nice flexible office space or spec suites.
But you need to work with someone who understands these things.
At Launch, our job is to come in and see things you might not be seeing.
And there are endless ways to think about your asset.
If you’re a building owner looking to add flexible office space to your portfolio but you don’t have a big budget to work with, get in touch with me today. I’d be happy to talk you through the benefits it can offer you.