At Fraser Highway and 206 Street in Langley City, a former credit union has been transformed into a unique shared office space.
Before it opened as CoWorks by Elevate, the two-storey building underwent a top-to-bottom renovation that added an elevator and turned the main floor into an airy common area, complete with a boardroom table for meetings, a fully stocked kitchen and lounge area with an all-important coffee maker, comfy chairs and tables.
There is even a booth, modelled on old-fashioned British telephone call boxes, with a door so cell phone users can have some privacy if needed.
Upstairs, what used to be the administration space for the credit union has a second foyer and an array of bright, furnished offices in different sizes.
Before the doors officially opened last month, four tenants had already signed up, said CoWorks director Amber Brownlee.
Two counsellors, a speech and language therapist and a fourth who “does a lot with her own branding of retail,” Brownlee explained.
Behind the reception desk in the main ground floor foyer, are some words of encouragement: “transform, grow, network, inspire, create.”
“We really wanted to come up with words that really speak about what that space is,” Brownlee explained.
“It goes back to the community, working with the businesses [in Langley], helping them thrive.”
CoWorks is aimed at new entrepreneurs looking to make the move from home-based to office-based and people who work outside Langley and face a long daily drive to and from their jobs — people who would prefer working from a satellite office, Brownlee noted.
“They’re trying to get closer to home, so this is the best place for them,” Brownlee said.
“They can come into this space and just get the one office and can still speak to everybody in their office downtown and not have to spend that time in the car.”
For businesses that are just getting started, there is the appeal of a furnished office where distracting details are handled by CoWorks.
If your internet goes down, we fix it, you don’t have to,” Brownlee added.
“It’s a complete package when you walk in the door. “
CoWorks has what Brownlee described as an “outside the walls” strategy that aims to form links with local businesses in the community.
“Really trying to help those small businesses that are coming and using our space and really try to work with them to try and see what we can do to help them grow.”
It is the second CoWorks facility built by Port Coquitlam-based Elevate Development Corporation, which won the Award of Excellence for Best Building Renovation at the Fraser Valley Commercial Building Awards 2017 for overhauling the retail complex where CoWorks is based.
Port Coquitlam was the site of the first CoWorks space, which opened last year,
A third is planned in Mission, Brownlee anticipated.
“It will probably take a couple of years but it is on the books.”
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