Reporter-Herald Staff Writer
If you go
What: “desk chair workspace,” a coworking business that leases out desk and office space.
Where: 201 E. Fourth St. in downtown Loveland.
More info: deskchairworkspace.com or 970-462-9464.
Four months after opening an ambitious coworking space in a historic downtown Loveland building, owner Doug Erion says he’s happy with the way the business community has responded.
“I think it was the right project at the right time,” he said Thursday of his “desk chair workspace,” which opened July 1 in the extensively renovated First National Bank at 201 E. Fourth St. “We’re way above our projections.”
Desk chair was created as a coworking space — a business that rents desks and office space to entrepreneurs, freelancers and startup businesses that don’t need their own offices.
The idea is that such workers thrive in the give-and-take of an open office where they can bounce ideas off people nearby and gain from the community aspect of it.
That’s happening at desk chair, Erion said, but he’s had to be flexible as potential tenants present him with a variety of other needs.
For example, last week Erion leased most of the third floor of desk chair to Western Energy Support & Technology, a Loveland-based conglomeration of six businesses doing flow-measurement and flow-control work in the oil and gas, aerospace, automotive and nuclear-power industries.
Desk chair was using the third floor to host its events, but as a result of the five-year lease with WEST, desk chair has removed the recently built walls of two office suites on the first floor and is in the process of remaking the space into an events area.
“We have their accounting department in here, and those folks liked it so well” that they decided to move the rest of the company from Centerra to desk chair, Erion said.
Downtown Loveland a draw
WEST chief operating officer Rick Tompkins said his company liked the flexibility of desk chair’s space.
“They worked with us really well on finding a way to do that,” he said. “Those guys are just great.”
Tompkins added that the growing vitality of downtown Loveland is a plus.
“There are lots of places we can eat, and meet; it’s really a nice evolving area,” he said.
WEST will put 22 people in the space, which technically can handle 40, according to desk chair sales manager Jim Doherty. Desk chair is working on getting building permits for the remodel, he said, and hopes to have the work finished by the first of the year.
“They’re wanting to grow very quickly,” Erion said. “Our goal is to keep up with them as they grow.”
Leasing out that large space will put desk chair at 60 percent occupancy, well ahead of its projections, according to Erion.
“That’s going to make the whole project work,” he said.
Another option that desk chair offers businesses is the single suite, a small, glass-enclosed space that provides privacy to a worker.
“We’ve had more demand for the little single suites than we anticipated in the beginning,” Erion said. The company is adding four to eight more of the mini offices.
In the basement, a space that desk chair calls Groundworks, the company has leased three of its five suites. The basement has beefed-up utilities and was geared to the maker community, with prototyping, light industrial and assembly in mind, although all the tenants don’t necessarily fit into that category, he said.
‘Hot desks’ still available
One desk chair segment that Erion and Doherty said they’re still trying to fill is the “hot desk.” That option, which Erion said should appeal to the entrepreneur and gig-worker crowd, gives a worker access to a desk or table five days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The hot desk isn’t a dedicated space, and doesn’t offer the worker any storage, but it does come with full membership benefits including fiber-optic internet, free copying, coffee, conference rooms, access to the exercise room and the free end-of-day glass of wine or beer.
Erion said he has felt the young-worker vibe in urban areas, such as McWhinney’s Dairy Block development in Denver, and he’s hoping to help create that same energy in downtown Loveland.
“We have that around here some of the time. We’d like to have it all the time,” he said.
Having desk chair’s Five Tables Cafe on the ground floor with the hot-desk space helps bring energy to the area, he said.
Desk chair’s rates run from $25 and $35 for one-day drop-ins, depending on amenities, to $250 a month (month-to-month) for hot desks to $375 for dedicated desks and $575 and up for private suites.
Erion, who in 2012 opened Artworks, a downtown artists’ community with studio spaces and galleries, said he learned the value of collaboration from that project.
“It’s been huge,” he said. “I didn’t understand the community aspect. I do now.”
For more information, go to deskchairworkspace.com or call 970-462-9464.