By Eric Fetters Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD — Small businesses get started in spare bedrooms or garages, but at some point, it helps to give a growing enterprise its own space.
Which usually is expensive. Even modest office space can cost thousands of dollars per month and require a commitment to lease for at least several months at a time.
“For a lot of businesses, you don’t need a lot of space to make money. But if you look at the marketplace and look at what’s available, small spaces are rare,” said Jeff Silesky, owner of Creative Workspace, which recently opened a building of small, affordable office spaces in Lynnwood.
The biggest available office space in the building is 420 square feet. The spaces are basic, but neat and clean. For an average 15-by-15-foot office, the monthly price ranges from about $475 to just more than $500.
That includes everything but mailbox rental, garbage pickup and phone service. The building has round-the-clock security features and takes care of maintenance. The spaces can be leased a month at a time.
There’s just one other catch: The spaces come without carpeting, painted walls or fixtures. Office renters have to take care of that, although a number of businesses are offering those materials and services at a discount for Creative Workspace’s tenants.
Silesky said small-business people find Creative Workspace’s offices suitable for a variety of reasons.
“A big one is people just want to have a little more space, a more defined area than a home office,” he said. “And certainly if they’re seeing clients, they want a more professional setting like this.”
Silesky said there are few options for small office spaces, especially outside downtown Seattle. The main barrier to creating more of these buildings is the high cost of suitable land and construction, he said.
Lisa Benedict, manager of the Lynnwood Creative Workspaces agreed. She said that based on the calls she’s getting from prospective tenants, there’s ample demand for small, cheap office space.
“There’s a huge market for it in this area,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people stop by, wanting to know more.”
In Renton, the first Creative Workspace building is between 80 percent and 90 percent full. After two months, 45 of the 180 spaces are now rented in Lynnwood.
“At this space, we’ll be close to full within a year, if not sooner,” Silesky said.
Some ground-floor spaces are available with roll-up doors for businesses that want to store inventory in their space. Some also can be outfitted with sinks, if needed. All have access to high-speed Internet service from Comcast.
The tenants so far vary widely and include insurance and financial offices, a dance-wear business, a construction company, and a church office.
Jason Fox recently opened his own barber shop in a space. “This place is killer with the price, especially to start out,” he said.
Sherry Anderson, a grief recovery specialist with Grief Recovery Outreach Workshops, formerly worked out a shared space. Her new office in the Creative Workspace building is small, but it’s big enough for her to see clients one-on-one. She can hold her group sessions in a shared conference room upstairs, which she can use for just $50 a month.
She said she didn’t mind having to decorate the office herself. With the help of a decorator, she created a space that feels safe and cozy.
Joel Mallari has settled into an upstairs office suite in the building. His business, J Studios, does digital recording and mastering for local radio commercials, hip-hop dances and the like. Previously, Mallari worked out of his basement.
“It’s really good. I feel like I have my own space now, rather than being in my house,” he said, taking a break as he sat at his mixing console. Nearby is a recording booth he and his dad made for the office space.
Mark Rogers, who oversees Creative Workspaces in Renton and is a partner in the Lynnwood facility, said as entrepreneurs fill up the spaces, they find it easy to network and trade advice with fellow tenants. That can help energize small-business owners as they work hard to grow. “People feel a buzz here, an energy that people don’t feel when they’re working at home,” he said. “Nobody’s goofing off here.”
Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.