As the director of real estate for Clarke-Hook, Ann Orem saw a need for small business startups and entrepreneurs in the tech corridor of Ashburn.
As she watched the local economy grow, Orem saw a trend. She realized many new companies don’t need the traditional 1,500 square feet of office space to operate. She wanted to create an innovative and collaborative space for people to work so they wouldn’t have to sacrifice their lifestyles by commuting into D.C. or working from home.
That’s when Orem founded the Brickyard, a sleek, modern coworking space in Ashburn.
“Coworking spaces are about growing a community,” said Orem. “It’s more than just a place to work. It’s more than a place to hold a meeting. It’s about gathering together and fostering growth in the tech and startup community.”
The Ashburn location is only the beginning, Orem added.
“The whole goal is to bring coworking spaces to more communities,” she said. “We will be looking at additional locations in the near future.”
Coworking has become ubiquitous over the last three years with over 7,000 players around the globe, including several coworking centers in Washington and Loudoun County. The spaces have emerged as a fast-growing sub-sector of the real estate market. Corporations are also beginning to adopt some coworking concepts into their own offices.
To tackle the issue of constant flux and unpredictable revenues, coworking founders have creatively started to target niche communities such as writers, designers or other groups.
Some have even set up women only coworking spaces. The thinking goes that a stronger sense of community can create a sticky client base and a tight knit community that wants to stay together.
The Brickyard features a large, open space with 28 desks, where people can work side-by-side and collaborate. All of the walls are made of glass in order to make the space feel open, said Orem.
There are a few private offices, a shared break room, a reception area and two conference rooms fully equipped with the latest in audio-visual technology.
Since opening in February, the Brickyard has seen a fast success and an influx of new members, said Orem.