(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
This editorial article is a part of Technical.ly's Office Trends month.
With a round of openings this fall, Baltimore added a set of shared workspaces to the city.
It was the latest in a five-year period of similar growth for coworking in the city, and appears poised to continue given the recent news that WeWork will be moving into the city in 2020.
Yet as the number of spaces grows, it’s becoming evident that each brings an identity. In some cases, that’s place-based, as the shared office model is seen as a way to help communities like Hamilton-Lauraville and Dundalk galvanize “main street”–like neighborhood centers. Others are focused around a specific mission, or trace origins to a community that grew large enough to benefit from a physical home. It’s also evident that coworking isn’t just for software developers and designers, as the categories of businesses moving into these spaces are also expanding.
But in each space, the goal is often the same. For one, most offer flexible leasing terms. There’s also a larger aim. The point of bringing people together is to create a community where they can collaborate and learn from each other and ultimately grow a business.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the spaces in the city, and the communities that they’re growing:
- Address: 101 N. Haven St., Highlandtown
Located within the Baltimore Development Corp.-backed Emerging Technology Centers, the city’s original coworking space remains a hive of tech activity five years after moving from Canton to N. Haven Street in Highlandtown. Being located alongside ETC’s accelerator and incubator programs ensures exposure to the city’s latest startups. Plus, there’s an underground science space in the same building.
- Address: 1111 Light St., Federal Hill
Along with its incubator and academy programs, coworking is part of the equation at Betamore. Originally at the corner of Light and Cross Sts. in Federal Hill, the tech hub is now based at the center of Port Covington’s City Garage. Opened in 2017, the space puts the tech startups working there in the same building as The Foundery makerspace and Under Armour’s Lighthouse working on the future of manufacturing.
- 3700 O’Donnell St., Brewers Hill
Natty Boh Tower is growing as a destination for tech startups and creative firms, so it’s only natural that the building would have a coworking option. Last year, Brewers Hill Hub added that to the equation, with a mix of offices, suites and desks. Plus, the roof deck has prime views of the harbor, and Mr. Boh.
- Address: 2526 St. Paul St., Charles Village
Opened in late 2013, this 900-sq.-foot space is tailor made for freelancers who need a desk away from home. Along with tech types, it’s also inviting to writers and other small business owners.
- 12 W. Madison St., Mt. Vernon
- 1724 W. Maryland Ave., Station North
Since debuting its initial location in 2015 at the house that John Pendleton Kennedy built in Mt. Vernon, the Par Collective’s Co-OP has provided space for companies and expanded its footprint. A second location in Station North came online in 2017. They’re both geared toward growing companies that are ready to get out of the incubator, and get stuff done.
- Address: 2209 Maryland Ave., Old Goucher
Opened in March 2016, this design-forward coworking space is owned and created by Megan Elcrat and Philip Jones of architecture firm 33:Design. In late 2017, it also added a design bookstore to the neighborhood.
- Address: 6905 York Rd.
Opened in 2016, this coworking space is designed to help parents can get stuff done. That means onsite babysitting. Cofounders Dr. Tammira Lucas and TeKesha Jamison also set up resources to help parent entrepreneurs on the business side, as well.
Located within the bwtech@UMBC Cyber Incubator, founders and student interns have access to the CyberHive coworking space. The space is designed to position startups near entrepreneurs in residence, potential strategic partners and the University of Maryland Baltimore County, which itself is a hub for cybersecurity.
- Ashland: 1812 Ashland Ave.
- R. House: 301 W. 29th St.
Johns Hopkins identified space as a key component to its plans to create a university-wide innovation ecosystem, and the square footage dedicated to startups founded by faculty and students has expanded. The university now boasts innovation hubs at its hospital campus in East Baltimore, and close to its Homewood campus in Remington. Each has a spot for startups complete with lab space, and a nearby FastForward U space, only for students.
- Address: 11 Center Pl., Dundalk
After pop-up experiments in the Southeast Baltimore County community’s town center, the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation opened a full-fledged incubator in October 2018. It’s aiming to help small businesses grow, and take advantage of the retail space.
- Address: 101 W. Dickman St., Port Covington
The makerspace inside City Garage has a blacksmith shop and an area called “Big Iron Alley,” and there’s plenty of desks away from the heavy machinery. The “gym for nerds” is designed to give small businesses the tools to start a project, and it offers up copious coffee and popcorn. It emerged as an early linchpin upon opening in Port Covington, and offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model.
- Address: 4709 Harford Rd., Lauraville
Lisa Frank and Gene Ward set out to generate new activity on the main street area in Northeast Baltimore’s Hamilton-Lauraville area. With Function, they created a home for new businesses, filled with private offices and vibrant common areas that extend out into a courtyard. It’s also a space for the neighborhood. For the working artists in the area, a large gallery and multi-purpose space has regular shows, and art can be found on the walls throughout the building. It’s also providing meeting space for community associations.
- Address: 875 Hollins St.
The University of Maryland BioPark opened this space in late 2017 to forge connections among social entrepreneurs, and provide community space in Southwest Baltimore. Located inside the Lion Brothers building, it’s open to university-based entrepreneurs and offers a mix of resources like the UM Ventures office and the Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices.
- Address: 701 E. Pratt St., Inner Harbor
Nestled inside Columbus Center in the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, this incubator quickly became a home for green and biotech startups, as well as a place to learn about how business and science mix. Plus, there’s wet lab space and live fish in other parts of the building. And don’t forget the harbor views.
- Address: 300 West Pratt St., Inner Harbor
In the fall, Baltimore’s commercial center added a coworking space with Homebase. With a mix of private offices and open workspace, the focus is on creating a community where businesses can help each other move forward. Plus, the central location boasts plenty of nearby amenities and transportation. A second location is expected to be fully up and running at Woodberry’s Clipper Mill in the near future.
- Address: 217 N. Charles St.
Profiles Staffing Agency opened this space in the former Downtown Partnership of Baltimore offices in 2016. Members have access to the resources they provide, and the spaces on offer include a mix of private workstations and corporate offices.
- Address: 10 E. North Ave., Station North
Coworking in the geographic center of town brings together startups looking to create social change. Founded by Michelle Geiss, Pres Adams and Rodney Foxworth, the space inside the Centre Theatre has become a gathering point for social entrepreneurs, artists, nonprofits and policymakers. It’s also served as a landing point for high profile events like Red Bull Amaphiko Academy and Ben and Jerry’s Big Ice Cream Social.
Address: 28 E. Susquehanna Ave., Towson
Cofounders Tony DiFatta and Michael Tich worked with plenty of entrepreneurs through their own businesses, and a monthly peer group called INSIGHT. In 2017, they opened a space to bring small business owners together every day. It mixes private offices and shared space.
- Address: 600 Washington Ave., Towson
Towson is one of six locations for this Maryland coworking network. It’s looking to bring coworking to the suburbs, and offer the kind of space that will help entrepreneurs get started.
- Address: 1215 E. Fort Ave., Baltimore
Locust Point–based innovation agency Mindgrub opened an incubator within its offices in McHenry Row. The space will have five offices for two people, open workspace and conference rooms. Mindgrub also plans to offer expertise to help growing startups, and bring together a strategy group.
- Address: 1400 Greenmount Ave., Station North
The massive makerspace boasts the tools that are helping hardware and light manufacturing startups get off the ground. But just as important to the team is the mission of reaching out on a neighborhood. So along with access to shop areas, Open Works serves as a community gathering point for the Greenmount West and Johnston Square community.
- Address: 640 Frederick Rd., Catonsville
Located inside the historic Bank Building, this space serves as a gathering point for entrepreneurs in the commercial district in Catonsville.
- Address: 145 West Ostend St., South Baltimore
In the fall, the opening of this shared office space inside Stadium Square showed marked a move from a global coworking player to enter Baltimore. Spaces puts a priority on private offices, but maintains the flexible leasing plans and configurations that’s become synonymous with coworking. It also has dedicated desks and plenty of common areas. A second Baltimore location inside The Gallery at Harborplace is opening next year.
- Address: 8 Market Pl., Inner Harbor
Baltimore’s Cordish Companies made a move into coworking with this space above Power Plant Live! in 2015. It’s since expanded by adding more private offices, and expanding down a floor. Home to a mix of tech, creative and service firms, it quickly became a central gathering point for the city’s entrepreneurial community through regular events like the upcoming Every Startup’s Holiday Party. The success led to expansion outside the state, as spaces have since opened in Kansas City, Mo. and Louisville, Ky.
- Address: 1401 Severn St., Pigtown
Cofounders Kyle O’Connor, Marcus Henderson and Deonn Howard brought an incubator to Pigtown and created a community focused on inclusive innovation. Along with coworking, the space provides education and business-building resources to help entrepreneurs.
- Address: 7400 York Rd., Towson
Located on York Road, Towson University’s incubator has flexible space for member companies. Along with connections to the university and regional tech players, the incubator boasts a concentration of edtech startups.
- Address: 12 W. Montogomery St., Federal Hill.
The space in Federal Hill mixes the privacy needed for productivity and community connections. The space has 20 private offices featuring lofts above desk space, while an atrium area forms a gathering space complete with coffee bar. The flexibility extends to the second floor of the building, which has a mix of apartments and workspaces. Other features include 24/7 access, conference room access and a golf simulator.
Did we miss anybody? Tell us in the comments.-30-
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