Thought they didn’t make it on our wrap-up post for 2016, we spent quite a bit of time this year writing about coworking in Philadelphia.
And going over the year’s top stories, the trend was easy to spot: Philly saw coworking spread even more throughout the city. More spaces and bigger ones popped up in town as well as across city limits. The trend, of course, is not proprietary to Philly. And hoo boy remember back in 2012 when we wondered if there was a shared office space bubble?
As Indy Hall’s Alex Hillman would quickly say, coworking is nothing without a community. We also saw a boost in events, programming culture and other apparent community-building efforts even from larger, more corporate coworking spaces like WeWork.
Here’s a quick look back at our coverage on coworking:
- Indy Hall got past a “weird year”: The coworking community landed itself a new home in 2016, a roomier location on on the third floor of the Colonial Penn building at 399 Market St. (Yes, Alex, we know how you feel about square footage). Though the coworking troupe’s new location had been up in the air for a while, they’re all settled in now, Girl Scout Troop and all.
— Technical.ly Philly (@TechnicallyPHL) August 4, 2016
- Benjamin’s Desk set up its regional playbook: 2016 saw BDX (as community members are fond of calling it) expand beyond its usual Philly-proper stomping ground, under licensing deals Wilmington’s 1313 Innovation, and Ambler’s the Ambler Yards were announced in 2016 as the first two sites under the company’s “Powered by Benjamin’s Desk” model. Alongside those deals, the company also increased its presence in Philly proper, with the opening of a 40,000-square-foot hub at the Pennovation Center and a 11,700-square-foot one on Walnut Street.
- WeWork came hard for Philly: One of the nation’s largest coworking companies set up shop in NoLibs back in June, with a 30,000-square-foot flagship location. Expansion soon came by way of a 40,000-square-foot space on 1601 Market St. and a smaller spot at 1430 Walnut St.
- Industrious raised that dough: With a $37 million series A, Brooklyn-based Industrious is planning a 12-city expansion but there’s no plan for a second Philly location just yet.
- This cute boutique coworking space opened up: Meet Old City Collective, a tiny 900-square-foot space rents itself out for the day as an “alternative to coworking.” So where’s the community part? Founder Laura Eaton said events and mixers will be happening regularly at the location. BTW, if it looks familiar, that’s because it’s the old location of The Hive, the coworking space for women that closed at the start of the year.
- The Philly Game Forge shut down: A sad moment for local game devs, who bid the space farewell with song and dance.
- A coworking/coliving hub from London picked Philly as its first U.S. market: Though Startup Home’s exact location is still TBD, it was cool to see Philly being picked over other startuppy towns for this project’s first foray, set to open in 2017.