Over the years, Denver Shared Spaces has worked closely with The Alliance Center and many of its tenant partners. In fact, The Alliance Center has already been showcased as a shared space highlight on Denver Shared Spaces blog and newsletter previously. Yet today Denver Shared Spaces wanted to kick-off what will be a three-part series on lessons learned from one of the largest and most tenured shared space centers embedded within the Denver Metropolitan area. Over the next few weeks, we will feature stories and lessons from The Alliance Center, beginning with a closer look at its 2014 renovation, delve deeper into emergency preparedness for shared spaces, and uncover lessons applicable to any shared space looking for the right mix of tenants to fit a collective culture.
The Alliance Center, started as part of Alliance for Sustainable Colorado in 2004 with four tenant organizations. As Jason Page, chief operating officer of Alliance for Sustainable Colorado states:
“The 2014 renovation was transformative for the shared space. The Center went from just four conference rooms to 18. With the expansion of the space, The Alliance Center has been able to lower the costs for the average size tenant by having a different leasing model…The true testament to the success of The Alliance Center’s renovation comes from the fact that the original tenants in the space stuck with The Alliance Center before, during and after the renovation despite having to re-locate and find temporary space.”
In essence, the renovation has allowed the amount of space, events and tenants to all double since 2014. One new feature (and a good recommendation for your next meeting) is to stop by the café in The Alliance Center, operated by Serendipity Catering—a welcome meeting space for tenants and the wider community alike. Pablo’s coffee, a green chile breakfast burrito or a sweet pastry treat are just the ticket to start a meeting right!
After the renovation, The Alliance Center used a broker to fill tenant space. The main value, from an organizational leadership perspective, was that this allowed The Alliance Center to reach a different type of potential tenant. For the nonprofit community, if you are able to afford a broker, it can be a huge asset in terms of what can perhaps be described as bridging the language and conceptual gap with the real estate community in Denver. From Jason’s perspective of working with a broker, here are a few tips for any shared space:
- Select a person, more than a firm. The Alliance Center went with an individual who knows shared spaces well and works regularly with nonprofit clients. The broker could work with fitting client needs to non-traditional space, such as renting desks rather than offices, short-term leases, and values based on collaboration and sustainable practices.
- Partner with a broker who can clearly communicate “fit” to the public and tenants seeking space. Once the pieces are in place for an initial screening of tenants, the broker can easily seal the deal with a new, appropriate tenant for the shared space culture and office dynamics required.
Related Blog Posts:
Stay Tuned for links to Part 2 & 3 in the series