New shared workspace opens in Vancouver’s inner city

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Independent entrepreneurs can rent space for $200 per month

Gillian Shaw

“Co-working” and “hotdesking” are growing trends with companies that are abandoning high-priced real estate in favour of more practical — and less pricey — workspace solutions.

With inner-city Vancouver home to many independent tech and creative entrepreneurs, a newly opened shared workspace is a natural. It was created by Building Opportunities with Business, a non-profit aimed at supporting business development and job opportunities in the inner city.

High-ceilinged, spacious and located on the main floor of a building at 163 East Pender St., the shared open space gives tenants desk space, along with chairs, tables, couches and other furnishings that distinguish it from a less-inviting cubicle office. Art on the walls showcases local artists.

“If you are a creative person, you need a certain amount of energy. But you also need the ability to concentrate, and you need some peace,” said Lorraine Murphy, the night manager of the BOB space.

Murphy has been working out of cafes since another shared office, WorkSpace in Gastown, closed down earlier this year. “This has plenty of room. I like the fact we’ve got natural light with window seats. You can hang out with friends with a cafe or living-room kind of vibe in the front, and you can have your head down at a desk toward the back,” said Murphy.

“Co-working gives you that sort of energy without the chaos of a cafe.”

The shared workspace is only one initiative of BOB, which is also involved in job programs and an initiative to improve the facades of vacant storefronts in the Downtown Eastside and in Chinatown.

“We hope that this open shared work space can contribute to the revitalization of the inner city by providing a space for creative professionals to flourish, for ideas to percolate, to cross pollinate, for businesses to grow, a place where stuff gets done,” reads BOB’s announcement of the new shared workspace.

Wi-Fi, a fridge, microwave, filtered water cooler and secure bike storage round out the offerings that come at a flat rate of $200 a month.

“We’re looking for creative professionals, progressive thinkers, the socially responsible and ecologically conscious who want to be surrounded by others of like mind. Folks who want more than a cubicle and a 9-to-5, and dream of bigger things and a better Vancouver to call home,” reads the announcement by BOB.

For information on the newly launched centre, e-mail [email protected], or check the Building Opportunities with Business website at

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