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CoLab co-opts competitor in downtown Vancouver

6-month-old workshare company takes over Columbia Collective

By , Columbian staff writer
Published: January 10, 2018, 6:05am
2 Photos
Amey Laud, left, and Josh Iwata, employees of ClassHero, work together at CoLab, a shared office space in Vancouver. CoLab purchased competitor Columbia Collective and officially took over the space Jan. 1. Photos by Ariane Kunze/The Columbian
Amey Laud, left, and Josh Iwata, employees of ClassHero, work together at CoLab, a shared office space in Vancouver. CoLab purchased competitor Columbia Collective and officially took over the space Jan. 1. Photos by Ariane Kunze/The Columbian Photo Gallery

Downtown Vancouver’s two workshare companies are going to do a lot more sharing after one bought the other.

CoLab, the space at 915 Broadway, has acquired nearby competitor Columbia Collective, at 810 Main St. The deal became official Jan. 1 and terms were not disclosed.

Customers of both spaces are not expected to be impacted, said Kylan Johnson, co-founder and general manager of CoLab. Rates may change for new customers.

Johnson said the acquisition gives CoLab more flexibility in the spaces it offers. He said bigger organizations have come knocking at CoLab, and this allows them a place to put smaller freelance customers.

“It takes care of those (smaller customers) and frees up our original for a little more flexibility on the business suite in the co-working space,” he said.

CoLab opened six months ago, and the fact that it is already expanding speaks to the demand for worksharing spaces, Johnson said. Columbia Collective itself had a similar trajectory, expanding into new offices in less than a year.

Called worksharing or co-working spaces, the concept is to provide desks, cubicles and offices that can be rented to individuals or businesses, who see it as a way to off-load overhead expenses and responsibilities that come with traditional leases.

Bigger organizations have taken notice and shown interest in moving tens of people into offices at CoLab, Johnson said.

“They want to come in and have their office door opened up to a co-working space,” he said. “We provide the furniture and, from a recruiting standpoint, you have a bunch of freelancers and talent right outside your door that you drink coffee with, have happy hour with.”

Freelancers and technology companies whose employees telecommute have been the face of the movement, and helped push it into rapid growth. The biggest provider, New York-based WeWork, was founded in 2010 and reportedly valued at $20 billion.

Boomerang coming back

CoLab will also take over the floor beneath Columbia Collective, home to the nonprofit and coffee shop Boomerang. The space is in the midst of a remodel and will reopen March 7.

Johnson said Boomerang will keep its coffee shop there rent-free because they see it as an asset.

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“Having a coffee shop in our space, in a lobby fashion, is going to be a strength. It will be a great meet-up point,” he said.

More events are planned at the first-floor space, though that isn’t such a change since it has functioned as an art gallery and, most recently, the site of the Vancouver Night Market.

According to Clark County property records, Ten Talents Investments 2 LLC continues to own the building that Boomerang and Columbia Collective leased.

Vancouver development company Hurley Development is a partner in CoLab.

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