Flexible office space is a great option in a tough economy

I was reading the New York Times online today and came across an article by Jane L. Levere.  The article was titled “For Tight Times, Office Space on Flexible Terms“.  I thought that Jane did an excellent job providing a summary and insight on the New York Office Space market.  For many of the points brought up in the article, I can confirm that this is also the case for areas in the Seattle Office Space market.  Jane starts the article by stating: 

“Despite New York City’s depressed economy, there is a flurry of activity in at least one niche of the real estate industry: business center companies, also often known as executive suites.”

“Industry officials and observers say business centers — which vary widely in terms of furnishings, services provided and rents charged — are ideal for displaced or downsized businesses or start-up companies seeking space without long-term leases.”

Yesterday, we had a prospect who is looking to downsize from traditional space into thinkspace.  We’ll be able to provide space for exactly what this company needs.  Most companies are not looking for larger space that they can grow into.  They are looking to keep costs under control and not have to deal with fluctuating triple net (NNN) leases.

Kathy Donohue, President of PowerSpace and Services brought up a very good point which definitely resonates with members of thinkspace too:

“…very easy way to do business if you need only one or two offices… You don’t have to lay out capital; the infrastructure is set up; you can lock the door and not worry.”

It was also cool to see Jack Guttman from Green Desk mentioned in the article.  They operate a shared office space that appears to operate using sustainable business practices.  While they didn’t go into it, I’d love to hear from Jack to see if being green is helping his business.  Being green office space is certainly is a huge differentiating factor for us.

Mark Dixon, chief executive of Regus, said that although “demand levels are good,” the company was experiencing “increased levels of move-out.”  I have noticed that we are seeing an uptick of businesses leaving Regus and coming to thinkspace.

I’d like to hear from other shared office or executive office suites in other states whether or not they are experiencing similar types of trends and activity. For us, we are easily having the busiest month by far compared to any prior month in 2008.  We’re also seeing a increase in virtual office members and conference room usage too, a topic that was not even mentioned in the article.

Local businesses gather to watch Obama’s Inaugural Speech

This morning we had donuts and coffee together with other members of thinkspace as we watched Obama give his inaugural speech.  A quote from Obama’s speech that reasonates with me:

“We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.”

I think all entrepreneurs, business owners, can definitely appreciate these words.

What do on Earth Day in Redmond – April 22, 2009

Last year, I searched for events to participate in for Earth Day but I couldn’t find anything in Redmond.  I found things to do in Kirkland and Woodiville but Redmond was absent.  I’ve been discussing this with the Redmond Chamber of Commerce Sustainability Committee as well as the City of Redmond and we’re looking to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.  Rather than come up with ideas in a vacuum, I’m hoping for some suggestions on what the Redmond community would like to do to get involved in.  Anyone have suggestions?  I’ll kick start some ideas:

  • Picking up trash at a local Redmond Park.
  • Paint an educational Earth Day mural.
  • Recycling or Energy Fair.  How about 1/2 day off the grid?
Updated: March 11, 2009:
A few links to Earth Day events in Redmond :

The Top 25 Virtual Office and Executive Office Suites: PSBJ Book of Lists

The Puget Sound Business Journal just printed out their annual “Book of Lists”.  On page 45, you will find the companies that can provide you a Virtual Office, Private Office, or Executive Office Suite.  At the time of printing, thinkspace was ranked #7 in terms of total rentable square feet.  We are also ranked #5 in terms of total number of private offices.  Since Business Service Center in Bellevue has turned off it’s lights, we have now moved up the ranks and are now #6 and #4 respectively.

There’s one new comer to the top list “Creative Workspaces” which I haven’t visited yet.  The rest of the list is littered with Regus, the “chain store of executive office space”.  Regus calls their 156th location the Redmond Center, but, hello — it’s really got a Bellevue address.  Someone should notify “corporate” of the error.

The top 25 in the Puget Sound:

  1. Regus – Redmond Center (Bellevue)
  2. Regus – Lake Union (Seattle)
  3. Regus – Carillon Point (Kirkland)
  4. Business Service Center – (Out of business)
  5. Creative Workspace – (Lynnwood)
  6. Regus – Bank of America Plaza (Seattle)
  7. thinkspace – Redmond
  8. Regus – Skyline Tower  (Bellevue)
  9. Regus – Columbia Tower (Seattle)
  10. Regus – Key Center (Seattle)
  11. Regus – Bellevue Place Center (Bellevue)
  12. Regus – Seattle City Center (Seattle)
  13. Creative Workspace – (Renton)
  14. Regus – Two Union Square (Seattle)
  15. Karman Executive Center (Bellevue)
  16. Regus – Wells Fargo Center (Seattle)
  17. Regus – Bellevue City Center (Bellevue)
  18. Meadow Creek Professional Center (Issaquah)
  19. Premier Business Centers (Seattle)
  20. Premier Business Centers (Bellevue)
  21. Hometown Office Suites and Services (Federal Way)
  22. Cascade Business Services, Inc (Bellevue)
  23. Executive Support Center (Seattle)
  24. Premier Business Centers (Bothell)
  25. Lake Place Office Center – Costco (Issaquah)

[hr]

  • Number of Seattle Office Space Providers: 8
  • Number of Bellevue Office Space Providers: 9
  • Number of Redmond Office Space Providers: 1
  • Number of Kirkland Office Space Providers: 1
  • Number in other cities: 6

     

    Not all of these locations provide virtual office options.  The two that do not appear to provide virtual offices are Creative Workspaces and Costco Lake Place Office Center. 
  • Landlord evicts Virtual Office and Office Space Provider in Bellevue

    Business Service Center in Bellevue has been evicted from their office space in Bellevue.  Last Friday, they contacted all of their clients and told them that they had to move out by January 16.  There were 135 private offices and they occupied 35,759 square feet of space.  It’s really unfortunate for this to happen to Business Service Center as they had been a place for businesses to operate since 1967.

    Some of their clients who are rushing to get find a new place to operate their business are telling us that Business Service Center members were all given one week notice to move out of their space.  Others have told us that Business Service Center failed to pay their rent for November and December in 2008 and thus were given three days notice to get out.  After a few businesses threatened to file a lawsuit, they extended them a few extra days, giving them a week.  It’s a little strange to think that you can be evicted from a “virtual office”!

    With the economy going through it’s own problems, a business that is operating inside their space now suddenly has to relocate their operations in one week.  What a horrible situation for those businesses to go through.  I can’t imagine what it must feel like and feel sorry for those businesses that have to relocate their business in one week, plus they have to contact all their customers that they just moved.  Ugh.  I’m glad that I can tell members of thinkspace that we not only have a lease on our space, we also own the building.

    Best in Redmond: Redmond Restaurants

    I was searching UrbanSpoon.com looking for the best places to eat in Redmond, here’s what they ranked as being the top 10:

    I would have to say my hands down favorite place for lunch is at Ooba’s Mexican Grill.  Many of these restaurants are walking distance or very close by to thinkspace.  When picking office space, I think you also need to take into account where is a good place to eat and is it walking distance.  Ooba’s is on the same street as us!

    Seattle iPhone Developers Meetup

    Last night Seattle iPhone Developers came and met inside thinkspace. The meeting was an informal gathering where developers gathered to talk and share their latest iPhone apps.  Some ideas that I heard people talking about were way out there, cool and fun concepts.

    An example of one iPhone application is Derek Del Conte and Ryan Johnson’s Credit Card Terminal (see photo).  This application empowers any person the ability to make secure credit card transactions anywhere.  Seems like a pretty handy app and the price point is really affordable.  I’m expecting to see techie organic produce providers at the Redmond Farmers Market ringing up sales through their iPhones soon!

    I’m also already thinking of how thinkspace can create an iPhone app.  The shared office space industry needs some cool tools!