What started a few years ago as a coworking space is now stretching across a building.
Following a recent expansion to space on a floor below where it started, Spark Baltimore is now on all six floors of 8 Market Place.
The Cordish Companies-owned coworking space has been expanding steadily since formally opening in January 2016 in a building that’s part of Inner Harbor’s Power Plant Live! It initially had two floors, then doubled in size in 2017.
The latest move put space for entrepreneurs and companies on the first floor of the building in space where we once attended events. That newest space has 19 private offices that can fit anywhere between one to four people, meeting space, and its own kitchen and coffee bar. There’s no single-desk coworking in the space.
The new area opened in March, and only one office remained available as of last week, said Shervonne Cherry, Spark’s director of community and partnerships.
“We weren’t anticipating to be full this quickly, and I think that’s a testament to the growing need in the community,” said Cherry.
Coworking itself has been expanding in the area in recent years. Our 2019 list had more than 25 shared office spaces, Each has its own look and feel, but most offer a mix of flexible leasing, proximity to others building businesses and access to coffee.
Spark Baltimore represents one of the largest concentrations of entrepreneurs and young companies on that list. In all, more than 130 companies and a total of 400 people now use the space, Cherry said. Spark’s leaders look to build a diverse group of community-minded companies, and while there is an application process, they don’t limit membership based on what field a company is in. That’s already on view on the first floor, with a mix of cybersecurity, mentoring and a wellness consultancy, among others.
Still, it’s become a home of tech talent. Take Fearless as an example: The digital services firm, which works on dev, design and data efforts with government, health and nonprofit clients, moved into a couple of suites soon after Spark opened. It has since taken more space as its employee base has grown. With the coworking space moving down a floor, Fearless now occupies 8,000 square feet on the second floor, with room for 100 desks — and families.
With Spark’s growth, Cherry has also taken seriously the notion of such a space’s role to be a connecting point for Baltimore. Along with hosting events, the space emphasizes community. She also makes it a point to provide info on other resources in town that help young companies.
Seeing that community and “champions” who are offering support in the city is part of what helps entrepreneurs ultimately grow in the city, even as they go through the ups and downs of starting a business.
“Even if you have an entrepreneur that’s just building their business or have an individual that just needs space to work on their own thing, they want to be part of something bigger,” she said.
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