Second co-working space downtown set to open in June

By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer

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Graphic designers, programmers and other remote workers will soon have a new place to clock in.

CoLab, at 915 Broadway, is the newest co-working space in downtown Vancouver, joining Columbia Collective, at 810 Main St. Such spaces offer desks and amenities at monthly rates to appeal to a new generation of tech-savvy workers who can work from anywhere. They often bill their spaces as alternatives to working from home or coffee shops.

“We still have a lot of people crossing the bridge every day,” said founder Kylan Johnson. “A lot of those people can probably save time and money by realizing there is viable, affordable space — either our space or the other shared working spaces in downtown.”

CoLab has some tenants already in place, but it won’t open until June, Johnson said. At 11,000 square feet, it will offer work spaces ranging from communal desks to private offices, priced between $175 to $1,800 per month. As is typical with co-working spaces, there will be kitchen areas, conference rooms, games and storage.

The space was previously occupied by real estate firm Keller Williams, which last year upgraded to a new location at 2211 E. Mill Plain Blvd. The space offers two levels: a main floor and a basement, though Johnson said the glassy exteriors provide enough light that the basement shouldn’t be imagined as a cellar for computers.

“The whole basement is basically lounge and breakout areas,” he said. “Basically, the whole walls are facing windows. It’s really bright and awesome.”

CoLab’s opening signals more enthusiasm about tech culture in Vancouver. Columbia Collective already saw its membership swell quickly enough that it moved to a larger space less than a year after its debut. CoLab is also set to house Startup Weekend, a weekendlong crash course that teaches entrepreneurs how to create and launch companies, scheduled in June.

“I just think it’s a good representation of the culture shifting and Vancouver starting to tap into the growth that’s happening,” Johnson said.

It’s quickly becoming big business to carve out office space for remote workers. There are at least a dozen such places already in Portland. Nationwide, the largest company is WeWork Cos. and is estimated to be worth near $17 billion, offering co-working spaces in over 30 cities.