Apr 9, 2021 - News

The limits of working from home boost Denver's coworking spaces

WeWork's location at the Circa building in Denver. Photo courtesy of WeWor

Aaron Romigh looks over his laptop and sees a half-dozen people, all wearing masks, in a WeWork coworking space in Denver. "The energy feels good," he says.

Why it matters: Energy — whether from the sound of voices or body language of collaboration — is what people want after a year of working from home. And it's driving a renewed interest in coworking spaces.

  • "There's a lot of pent-up demand coming from the pandemic," says Romigh, WeWork's western region director.

Context: Denver's robust coworking community took a huge hit with the pandemic lockdown, particularly those located in the urban core.

  • WeWork closed four Denver locations and canceled a fifth lease as part of a right-sizing of its portfolio. Other companies closed spaces, too.
  • Colorado ranked 12th in the nation for its work-from-home environment, one study says.

What's happening: The clients who are taking tours at Modworks, a coworking space that overlooks city hall with views of the mountains, are more often individuals rather than small companies, says founder John Borst.

  • The other key is flexibility. "I think folks aren't looking necessarily for full-time coworking ... but it basically being an alternative to home," he says.
  • The other demand is for collaboration space where coworkers can gather occasionally to avoid prolonged Zoom calls.

The other side: One of the major risks facing the industry in Denver is a glut of open office space.

  • The market began to reach saturation, some believe, before the pandemic and now landlords with empty spaces may flood the market with flex working spaces.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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