The Works Glebe: Sharing space, sharing values
Working in a shared collaborative space is fast becoming the preferred option Australia-wide for start-ups and micro businesses needing flexible working arrangements. Shared spaces have multiplied more than 500% in just 2 years, and supply is barely keeping up with demand – particularly for makers and people in creative industries.
The City has been supporting co-working environments since 2012 when we launched our successful Creative Spaces program, while independent ventures are creating more co-working environments Sydney. One worth watching is The Works Glebe, an innovative retail/office space, set-up 2 years ago by project and event manager Kris Spann in one of inner Sydney’s most creative suburbs.
Spann started The Works Glebe in partnership with the owner of the Court House Hotel in Newtown, David Milton.
"In the first 2 years, we’ve focused on 3 synergistic directions: building a stable, collaborative retail business; providing co-working space for creatives; and setting up a workshop event series to tie it all together," Spann says.
"'Collaborative retail' simply means that a group of traders run a retail space and share the rent. It bridges the gap between a market stall and having your own commercial lease. Traders can complement each other's skills and share networks.
"Our co-working initiative is the logical progression for start-ups and freelancers who’ve grown out of their home base. We provide them with work space and hard core internet. We currently have 5 businesses and 15 people sharing office space on the mezzanine level, which makes it easy to collaborate on projects ... tenants can be as committed or casual as they choose," Spann says.
Office tenants range from graphic and clothing designers and entertainment producers, to large scale printers and website developers.
Retailers include Halchemy Design, Grandma Pickles Antiques, Ned Industrial and Devine Elegance. Musicland, Park My Van, Authority Clothing, Mister Wallpaper and Guerilla Gigs are some of the office tenants.
"In the future, we would like another 3 to 4 businesses needing around 25sqm of space each to fill studio areas on the second floor. A further 10 creatives operating in the co-working space upstairs would give us a healthy number of tenants with the potential to make some really significant achievements," Spann says.
Spann believes workshops – or “experiential retail“ – make learning entertaining and practical, as participants can walk away at the end with their own creations and a new skill set. In turn, workshop instructors not only gain from promotional opportunities but also get to share knowledge and work on honing their skills.
"Eventually, we hope to use our second level as a venue for a regular creative weekly market, with some stall holders leaving items in the building permanently for sale.
"The Works Glebe is obviously filling local need. All we had to do was make our idea of a local collaborative space known. Glebe has a highly creative population, yet until now there was nowhere for them to meet and work, and proximity to the University of Sydney and UTS increases demand for shared working environments. It’s basically a matter of getting the right fit of people together and creating a community.
"Our aim is to develop an inspiring space where artistic talent and industrial solidarity coexist; that will become the leading creative hub in Glebe and the inner west," Spann says.
Find out more about the City’s shared spaces below.
Places to inspire, create and delight
We own a number of properties that are suited to artists and others working in creative industries. Putting these buildings to use, we offer a number of programs that help people and companies find an affordable studio or workspace.
Our current tenants are housed around Oxford and William Street creative precincts and throughout our local area.
The programs we have available suit different needs:
- Short-term (spaces offered to a register of organisations for 1 to 12 months).
- Medium-term tenancies on Oxford Street.
- Long-term tenancies on William Street.
- Creative live work spaces.
- Accommodation grants.
We also partner with Creative Spaces, a free directory that connects property owners with creatives looking for a space.
Image: The Makery, short-term property tenant on Oxford Street.
Last updated: Wednesday, 26 November 2014