SANTA BARBARA – Want to work downtown? Join the club. Paseo Nuevo is now home to Santa Barbara’s first co-working club. The central location is the ideal venue for workzones, a new member-based shared workplace for work-from-home professionals, entrepreneurs and small business owners. The club recently leased 4,927 sf of office space on the second floor of 351 Paseo Nuevo.
Club members choose from more than 60 work stations in social to quiet zones, or may reserve one of 10 private meeting rooms using a pay-as-you-go model. The workzones club is also available for event space rentals. The co-working club was co-founded by a local team of entrepreneurs: Kirk Peacock, Pam Tanase, Mike Franco and Lisa Riolo. Santa Barbara is home to the first workzones club, and the group plans to open multiple locations in the future.
“Members receive a professional, downtown presence, great business amenities and an extended network of valuable contacts – all for under $200 per month,” explained CEO Kirk Peacock.
“Workzones is at the cutting edge of the trend toward more creative and fluid uses of office space,” commented Greg Bartholomew of Hayes Commercial Group, who represented the club in the lease transaction. “The club model is innovative and makes sense the minute you see the space.”
Co-working is gaining popularity in the US, but the club atmosphere and layout is unique to workzones. Bartholomew noted that membership – with access to multiple meeting rooms, including a boardroom and training room, phone booths, coffee, internet and a “welcome zone” reception area – gives start-ups and small business owners a professional step up from the home-based office without committing to a longer-term lease before they are ready.
“We built this for ourselves,” Peacock said. “All four of the co-founders worked out of home offices. We agreed that some aspects of working from home, like the flexibility, are great. But there are also drawbacks, like feelings of isolation or distractions that can’t always be controlled. We wanted affordable workspace that placed us next to other professionals but not in the middle of a loud, crowded cafe. We couldn’t find that option, so we created workzones.”
In addition to entrepreneurs and small business owners, workzones attracts remote workers who want to work alongside others. “Many of the first members telecommute and recognized immediately that co-working solves their ‘I’m-going-stir-crazy-at-home’ predicament in a way that cafes and coffee shops can’t,” Community Manager Lisa Riolo said. “Trying to work from a coffee shop is often challenging. You can’t always find a seat with an outlet, or you can’t take a phone call because it’s too loud.”
The club has been operating for weeks, but the grand opening will take place Thursday, April 4, from 3 to 7 p.m. (part of the Downtown Organization’s First Thursday).
“We conceived of workzones with the goal of accommodating all types of workplace scenarios for work-from-home professionals. Our zones let members work in areas designed for collaboration, focus, or private meetings. It all leads to greater productivity,” Riolo added.
The location was crucial for the concept to work, according to Bartholomew. “We looked around for a while before finding the perfect location in the heart of downtown, which is especially important for a professional who wants to work in the vibrant commercial district.” Bartholomew says an added benefit of the workzones model is that it will bring more businesses and the associated commerce into the downtown area.
The layout was also a major consideration, and the new workzones space offers the right blend of open spaces and private rooms – plus ample natural light – to make the space appealing and productive.
The workzones co-working club is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s located at 351 Paseo Nuevo on the second floor – directly above Aerie and Ben & Jerry’s – and shares a first-level entrance with the Social Security Administration. Workzones can be reached at 805-966-3722, or online at www.workzones.com.