Co-working spaces come to Alpharetta

This article was first published for Appen Media Group.

June 28, 2017

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Shared office spaces are making their way from big cities to smaller ones such as Alpharetta. Co-working spaces allow members to set up and work without long-term commitments.

Ramon Gonzalez, a founder of the co-working space business Thrive, said his offices are innovative and collaborative, allowing members to drop in and get work done occasionally or to hold company meetings.

Co-working spaces are attractive because they are more cost-efficient. Thrive satisfies the needs for people and companies that need professional space to hold meetings and meet with clients, he said.

“It’s kind of hard for them to get access to traditional space because it’s become so expensive,” Gonzalez said.

People will often opt to use a co-working space if they work from home and want to network or work in a collaborative environment, Gonzalez said.

“[People] understand there’s benefits to connecting to other people,” Gonzalez said. “People are looking for that. People are going to gravitate towards places they love.”

Daniel Burnett, another Thrive cofounder, said co-working spaces have become especially attractive in Milton and Alpharetta. People are willing to move to the area, he said, because of the small-town, community feel.

“People will go to a co-working space first, quickly after arriving here so they can get to know people,” Burnett said.

While Thrive provides a space where anyone who wants to finish some work can come in for a bit, other rental offices, such as the Alpharetta Technology Commission Innovation Center, offer space to complete more specialized work.

ATC Innovation is a tech startup incubator that offers co-working space, among other services, specifically tailored toward tech startups. ATC Innovation’s CEO Karen Cashion said one requirement at ATC Innovation is that members must be technology creators.

Like Thrive, people gravitate toward ATC because of the community they find there, said Dale Sizemore, ATC Innovation’s director of operations.

“There’s a lot of collaboration,” Sizemore said. “People have a lot of experience that they can kind of tag team and hand off to each other.”

Co-working spaces usually provide a cheaper alternative to renting a building, especially since the cost of business property in Alpharetta has risen sharply over the past few years.

Some office spaces in Alpharetta can cost anywhere from $28,000 to $52,000 per year to lease, according to data from Commercial Search.

Both Thrive and ATC Innovation offer working space for $99 per month.

Cashion said ATC Innovation’s prices are intentionally below market to host startups.

“We are a tech startup incubator, so our $99 membership includes free access to our tech startup programs and events, and to our tech startup mentors,” she said.

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