Acme Works is a new co-working space located at Toronto’s West End on 229 Niagara Street. The 8,600 sq. ft. space, once home to Acme Textiles, is renovated in 2013 to create an industrial luxe vibe, which features polished concrete floors and wood finishes reclaimed from demolished buildings and storm-damaged forests. Membership options include day pass ($25/day), shared tables (from $190/month), dedicated desks ($495/month) to dedicated offices and suites (price varies).
Located in Roncesvalles Village. Facility consists of a large open workspace, a boardroom, and a communal kitchen. Memberships range from drop-in ($25/day) ,lite ($100/month), part-time ($255/month) and dedicated full-time ($375/month).
CSI is a social enterprise that creates community workspace and incubates new ideas. First opened its door on Spadina in 2004, CSI has expanded to Annex, Regent Park and is opening a forth location in New York City.
Open concept coworking space and event venue on Bathurst street. Rental options include day pass at $25 per day, full-time coworking membership at $290 per month, dedicated workspace and private offices.
iQ Office Suites is full serviced workspace housed in the historic, five-storey Dineen Building in Toronto’s Financial District on Yonge Street. Memberships include co-working lounge ($299/month), dedicated desks and private offices.
Toronto’s “founder-friendly” co-working space. Located at King + Bathurst, it is the best coworking space in Toronto according to TechVibe. Full-time membership starting at $250 per month and it includes dedicated desk, 24/7 access, high speed internet, colour-laser printer, conference room and all events.
Worksplace One is a three-storey brick and beam space located in downtown west near Queen and Bathrust. Membership options include virtual office ($99/month), co-working lounge ($200/month), dedicated desk ($500/month) and private office.
Coworking and shared office space for small businesses, startups and freelancers in 5500 sq ft of space. Located in the Plateau Mont-Royal. Shared space rate is $219 per month includes 24/7 access to the office, exclusive use of a desk and a chair, Internet access, printers, meeting rooms, kitchen and all other amenities of the office. Closed office spaces are also available for rent.
Startup acclerator, co-working and event space in Griffintown district. 8000 square feet space with one board room and two meeting rooms. Rental options include single desks at $400 per month to private offices.
Open co-working space located in the heart of Montreal’s Mile End that offers a mix of shared and reserved desks as well as closed boardrooms. Flexible memberships include drop-ins, 3 days week to 24/7 unlimited.
Located in Inglewood. A startup community hub and coworking space with over 50+ startups. AcceleratorYYC offers mentorship programs and workshops for entrepreneurs. Memberships range from $25/annual virtual office to $300/month full-time 24/7 access.
Located in Calgary’s vibrant Kensington neighbourhood. Features include modern desks, ergonomic chairs, filing cabinets and receptionist support. Access to rooftop patio, community events, beverage and light snacks. Rates start at $300 per month.
One of the most fundamental parts of any business community are the buildings and tenants that occupy them. Regions suffer when buildings are left vacant, yet, businesses often struggle to identify these vacancies when looking for a location. High vacancy rates hurt communities and business improvement leaders, while economic development officers are in a great position to help.
The challenge is that there is no MLS for commercial real estate, or any one location where all of the listings can be found. Fragmented information is available on broker websites, but a simple scan of the marketplace is remarkably difficult to accomplish. At SpaceList, we’re solving this problem by making listings easy to find, filter, and act upon.
Economic developers are in a great position to help connect businesses with vacant spaces. Funded by commercial real estate property taxes, these leaders also have their finger on the pulse of the business community. Armed with websites that give a great overview of the region and the existing businesses, BIA’s & EDO’s are the perfect agencies to help fill vacancies.
Today, we’re launching a listing service that integrates directly with BIA & EDO websites. It brings all the functionality of SpaceList to your website so your visitors can quickly evaluate their options. Visitors to these websites can now explore available commercial space in the region and connect directly with the companies marketing it. More connections with less work.
SpaceList Fusion gives you the tool kit to tackle vacancy problems in your region. Find out how organizations like Richmond Economic Development, Gastown Business Improvement Association and Mount Pleasant Business Improvement Association are already using this solution to attract new business to their region. Click here to learn more.
The first thing you’ll encounter when put your membership fees at a coworking space against your rent in an office is the difference in pricing. The commercial real estate industry uses $/square foot/year ($/SF/YR), which makes it easy to compare different sized spaces. Coworking uses $/member/month, which makes it easier to estimate your costs.
Even though these two options look very different, I’ll show you why they’re pretty similar. A person generally takes up ~150 square feet in an office. So 8 people will take up ~1,200 square feet:
So both of these options give you about the same amount of space. To compare the costs we have to take into account the stuff that’s included in a coworking space that you don’t get as a tenant:
Recurring Expenses like extra insurance, internet, & office supplies will probably cost you around $2/SF/YR
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) can range from $10 – $30/SF depending on whether you buy your furniture from Herman Miller or Ikea. Let’s stay on the low end and call it $15/SF. We’ll want to amortize that cost over the length of the lease. Let’s say it’s a 3 year lease, so your annual FF&E cost will be ~$5/SF/YR.
The Build Out can get very expensive. The minute you start moving walls, electrical outlets or HVAC you will be incurring major costs…easily $100/SF on a custom office space. That said, most spaces that are suitable for a 10 person startup are already built out, so you shouldn’t have to do any work. Let’s assume that you’re on a startup budget using the space “as is” and spending $0/SF/YR on construction.
Given the assumptions I’ve made, the coworking space and the office both cost $3,600/month. (Keep in mind that you’re making a larger commitment with an office). Some coworking spaces offering discounts for teams of 4 or even 8 people. If that’s the case you will likely find that those will be your cheapest alternatives.
But this is just math, of course. It doesn’t account for the cultural and productivity benefits you might gain or loose from moving out on your own. I hope this helps you wrap your head around the decision about getting an office. To get you started, here are few spaces that might be worth checking out.
The best part about getting your own office is the huge amount of freedom it provides your company. You can do almost anything you want with your new space. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that along with that freedom comes a lot of responsibility. In coworking, packaged office & many shared office arrangements nearly everything is taken care of. You just roll in with your laptop and try not to make too much of a mess. The overhead costs get buried in your membership fee. When you sign a lease for your own space, those expenses come to the surface.
[Please be mindful that commercial leases are complex. Leases vary widely from city to city, building to building, and tenant to tenant. Always get qualified legal advice before signing a lease.]
Perhaps the most important thing to understand about commercial leasing is that when you sign a lease, you are committing to pay all the rent each month for the entire term of the lease. If you decide to move out, you continue to be responsible for the rent. So if you sign a 5 year lease, and rent is $2,500 / month, that’s a $150,000 commitment ($2,500 X 60 months). If you’re half way through your lease when you decide to move out, you’re still responsible for the remaining $75,000. Furthermore, because most startups have limited credit history the landlord typically asks the founders to sign a personal guarantee. So even if your company folds, you could still be responsible for ponying up the cash.
2. Additional Rent
There are typically two components to rent: Base & Additional. You could write a book about the nuances of rent, but suffice to say that base rent goes to the landlord, and additional rent covers the costs of owning & operating the portion of the building that you occupy. Property taxes, building insurance, maintenance, management fees and some renovations. Again, this varies widely. At the extreme, “true” triple net leases give the tenant complete responsibility for any and all costs that are incurred.
3. Build Out
The condition of your space when you take it over can vary from a fully demised with walls, lighting and kitchen appliances to a raw “shell” with no walls, electricity or plumbing. Often the landlord & tenant share responsibility for getting a space from shell condition to ready for occupancy. A common inducement from landlords is to reimburse the tenant for a portion of these costs (called a “Tenant Improvement Allowance”). You should know how much the work will costs and who will pay for it before you commit.
4. Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment
In the best case scenario you rent an office that is already built in a way that will suit your team. Even then you’re going to need desks, chairs, signage, and if you’re an addict like me you’ll need a high quality coffee machine. If you’re moving from a coworking or packaged office space they probably provided all that stuff for you. These expenses will be new for you but when you move you should be able to take most of this stuff with you. (see: fixtures vs. chattels)
5. All The Small Stuff
The alternatives that I mentioned in my last post are typically turn key. You show up and you’re ready to go on day one. You don’t get that in a lease. You show up and there’s no wifi, no desks, no chairs, no office manager… all these little things sound small but it’s a lot to manage.
Despite all this the upside is a huge amount of freedom. You can do some really amazing stuff with your office. A great atmosphere will make your team happy to be there, and that is definitely worth investing in.
One of the greatest milestones in your startup’s growth is getting your own office space. With near complete freedom to setup & use the space as you want it’s a defining moment for your company. But signing a lease is a big commitment and you should know what you’re getting into before you take the plunge.
It’s very rare for a startup to rent their own office on the first day of operations. Typically you’ll want to start slow and commit to more space for longer periods as the company gets established.
1. The Garage
The quickest & cheapest way to get space is to work from home. Apple & Google famously started out of their founder’s garage. With no rent, no commute and a fully stocked kitchen working from home is pretty appealing. For a lot of consultants it’s all they’ll ever need. But it gets tough when there are kids in the house or when the team grows beyond the founders.
2. Coworking Space
Coworking has taken off over the last decade and it’s a fantastic option for startups. The holy grail is to find a space that allows you to start small and add desks as your team grows. Foundery has a great tiered pricing system. Some spaces like MaRS Commons, RPM Montreal, & Launch Academy provide great resources for startups beyond the square footage. They can also be a great place to meet cofounders and stepping stone for accelerator programs.
3. Packaged Office Space
Groups like Regus, Intelligent Office, & a host of independents cater to businesses that need temporary or virtual offices. They also work well for lawyers & accountants who might be looking for a more formal vibe. These business centres are often setup in A class office buildings at desirable addresses like 100 King St. West. The agreements you sign here are closer to a lease than a membership, and can be more expensive than the typical coworking setup… but it varies. The line between what constitutes a coworking space and a business centre is blurring… which is a good thing.
4. Sharing an Office
Established companies sometimes have extra space to sublet to likeminded people. Again, the options here vary widely from an individual desk with the rest of their team to sharing half the space. You could end up with great access to all the amenities you could ever want or you could get stuffed into the back corner with no windows. It’s certainly worth asking around to see what your options are.
5. Your Own Digs
Clearly, there are a lot of options to explore before you commit to signing a lease. When you finally do, the only limits are your budget & imagination. The biggest difference here is that you get your own door, you can build the space exactly the way you want, and you’ll have a host of new responsibilities. If you grow really big you might look at buying your own building or, for that matter… your own campus.
Canadian born architect Frank Gehry has partnered with David Mirvish to redevelop much of the properties in Toronto’s Entertainment District along King Street West. The project will feature redevelopment of the historic Princess of Wales Theatre, some warehouses as well as three new 80+ storey skyscrapers along the iconic strip. Since the initial presentation, the design of the three towers has evolved with the latest plans being much more indicative of Gehry’s signature style. Learn more about this project, here.
This past winter I visited 50 brokerage and asset management firms across Canada. I asked what was was important to them in a service like SpaceList. Every team I spoke with stressed that accuracy was by far the most critical factor. I agreed, and hired Matt to help make SpaceList the industry leader in data accuracy.
Matt is coming off of 6 years at CBRE where he managed national data integrity across all asset classes. Matt is in the process of tearing through our database, looking for opportunities to improve the way we acquire information, normalize it and distribute it. Over the coming months you will see a more sophisticated system develop at SpaceList, and I hope you will find our data increasingly reliable.