The Cordish Companies has taken the flavor of its Spark Baltimore coworking space, at the Power Plant LIVE! complex in the Inner Harbor, into its neighboring Pier IV office building with a new venture, Spark Flex.
To be clear, the 40,000-square-feet of Spark Flex that will be home to the new local news outlet The Baltimore Banner is not a coworking space. The Cordish Companies is just bringing the flexibility of 18-month leases, full amenities, resources and turnkey service where everything is ready, from internet to receptionists, as soon as a client gets the keys. The space can offer a pathway for companies at Spark Baltimore that have grown their teams to 50 people, but still want to keep the various connections Spark Baltimore provides.
“We’re really graduating from the coworking ecosystem,” Shervonne Cherry, director of community and partnerships for Spark Coworking, told Technical.ly. “It’s not coworking, but the next step away from that, so we’re not penalizing growing businesses for being successful.”
Spark Flex is expected to open by this summer, with custom-built-out suites ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet or more. The innovation, outside of flexible space and shorter-term 18-month leasing, is that Spark Flex offers a time-based investment on tenant companies’ growth that traditional corporate commercial leases lack. In typical leases, once the agreement is signed, it all falls on the lessees to succeed. With Spark Flex, it’s about more than just collecting rent.
“We hire people that are genuinely interested in the ecosystem of Baltimore,” Cherry said. “They’re seeing these companies come in. They’re not just twiddling their thumbs. They’re checking in with the companies, [asking] how are they doing and how can we actively connect those companies to the resources that are going to help them grow. That’s where I see the difference of this model, compared to other corporate commercial real estate.”
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. -30-