When we decided to start our own coworking space, we had no idea that the empty industrial building we purchased would turn into the amazing space and community that Battery 621 is today. At the time, the building was nothing more than a combination of concrete slabs and empty rooms.
However, we had somewhat of an idea of what we wanted to create and what we hoped it would turn into. My vision was inspired largely by the story of our country’s founding fathers. The Sons of Liberty, a small group of patriots, would meet in bars and taverns to discuss important political and social issues and create plans for changing the problems they saw in the community. In creating a coworking space, we wanted to reproduce this same concept.
We had a very specific audience in mind of the type of individuals that we wanted to bring into the space. We have always held a love for the outdoors. And my business, the Public Works, also catered to the outdoor industry. Therefore, we wanted the building to attract like-minded individuals who also held the same interests and were concerned about the environment.
When we designed Battery 621, we wanted the building to have a very natural, outdoorsy look to it. We got the idea to use beetle-kill pine to create some of the structural elements. Not only did this give the building a very natural, outdoorsy look, but it also was a sustainable way to go about the construction and limit our use of natural resources.
Our efforts were successful. By being mindful and intentional about the space we were creating, we were able to attract many businesses who were involved in the outdoor industry. However, this was only the very beginning of what Battery 621 would become.
Soon, we found a need to make the space more versatile and pliable. This idea came about partly due to a non-profit group my partners and I had started called The Business of Fun. The Business of Fun was a non-profit organization that focused on helping young people find alternatives to working in an office cubicle setting and pursue careers in the outdoor industry.
Through The Business of Fun, we began hosting a huge variety of events at Battery 621. We held discussion panels, presentations, concerts, and speaker events. Battery 621 evolved from just an office space into a multi-use building. Additionally, we began using the building to host events for First Fridays on Santa Fe.
This is how my partners and I came up with the concept of creating adaptable furniture. We needed furniture that could be easily moved and adapted so that all of these different events could be held in one building. By day, Battery 621 could be an office and at night, it was a venue or a workshop space.
We began to change the building so that it could be used in new ways. We created a variety of different tables, seating areas, shelves, and furniture. We knocked down walls to give the space a more open feeling that was conducive to collaborative work. We even made use of the roof of the building by turning it into an outdoor patio.
Today, Battery 621 continues to exist as a functioning coworking office and venue and is home to a diverse array of businesses. However, by no means has the building stopped evolving. My partners and I are always looking for opportunities to make improvements to the building.
Additionally, we often implement changes to the building for the sake of our tenants. We value our tenants greatly and feel very fortunate that we have the opportunity to work alongside them. We want to create a space in which they feel welcomed and that allows their business to thrive. Some of the changes that we have made, such as adding a composting bin in addition to the trash and recycle bins, or getting rid of our upstairs theater because the events produced too much noise, were for the sole purpose of making our tenants happy.
It is my belief that the way we have always prioritized our tenant’s needs has greatly contributed to the success of our coworking space. From the very beginning, we designed a space that would appeal to the types of businesses and individuals we wanted to attract. And we continue to do this today.
I feel that it’s important for coworking managers to keep their tenant’s interests in mind when designing a space. You want to create a space that appeals to your clients and prioritizes their needs. Additionally, creating a space that is adaptable and flexible is equally as important. Someday, you may find that your business goals change from your original vision, and your office should be able to accommodate new needs as well as the changing needs of your clients.