Workzones opens downtown

Part social club, part coffee-shop hangout and part technology incubator, Workzones is a new “co-working” space in downtown Santa Barbara.

The member-based club has taken over 4,927 square feet of office space in the Paseo Nuevo shopping center. Workzones members can pay to work from more than 60 work stations in social or quiet “zones” and also have access to private meeting rooms.

“Members receive a professional, downtown presence, great business amenities and an extended network of valuable contacts- all for under $200 per month,” CEO Kirk Peacock said in a statement.

The co-working club was co-founded by Peacock, Pam Tanase, Mike Franco and Lisa Riolo, a group of South Coast entrepreneurs. Santa Barbara is home to the first workzones location, but the group has plans to open more in the future.

Workzones is designed to give work-from-home professionals, freelancers and start-ups access to a business-like work environment where they can meet clients and partners, and also be surrounded by other entrepreneurs.

“Workzones is at the cutting edge of the trend toward more creative and fluid uses of office space,” Greg Bartholomew of Hayes Commercial Group, who represented the club in the lease transaction, said in a statement. “The club model is innovative and makes sense the minute you see the space.”

He noted that membership gives small firms access to the amenities of a corporate space, including a boardroom, phone booths, coffee and Internet, without having to commit to a longer-term lease. It also means that freelancers can work while surrounded by other professionals- no more lonely toiling away on your laptop in your pajamas at home.

“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,” Riolo said in a statement. “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.”

Peacock said the co-founders created the space based on what they wanted.

“All four of the co-founders worked out of home offices,” he said. “We agreed that some aspects of working form 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 café. We couldn’t find that the option, so we created Workzones.”

The club is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday form 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s located at 351 Paseo Nuevo on the second floor and shares a first-level entrance with the Social Security Administration.