Features

Flexible coworking spaces have been popping up in Minnesota at a dizzying rate

By Julie Scagell

Coworking spaces are, strictly by definition, membership-based workspaces where freelancers, remote workers and other independent professionals work together in a shared setting. But for those who utilize these spaces, they are so much more. For individuals who work remotely, coworking offers a feeling of community and collaboration — something a person is less likely to get in a coffee shop (or, let’s be honest, their couch). 

 “I like having flexibility and variety. Coworking spaces are great for a remote worker because working from home can be isolating,” says Christina Marfice, freelance writer and editor. “They also provide focus and amazing networking opportunities. Many host professional development and social events where you can meet other members. I’ve met valuable professional contacts there.”
The number of coworking spaces means there are myriad options for different personalities, each allowing for as much (or as little) interaction and collaboration as one desires. And with a record 50.9% of the U.S. population predicted to freelance by 2027, the interest in these types of spaces will likely continue. 

We took a look at some of the most popular coworking spaces in urban and suburban Minnesota and what sets them apart from their competition. 

SCOUT WORKSHOP'S two owners — Heather Rose-Dunning and Kim Batcheller — also work together at their architecture and design firm, Yellow Dog Studio. They wanted to find a way to remain a small, agile design firm while connecting to a broader community of other creative folks forging their own paths. When they couldn’t find a place to do this, they decided to create it. 

Workplace vibe:
“Scout Workshop is a coworking community where design thinkers and other creative-minded folks can explore new ideas, do great work, be inspired and connected, and tap into physical and intellectual resources,” says Heather Rose-Dunning, co-founder of Scout Workshop. “We’re all creatives of some sort or another who don’t fit nicely into boxes. We’re explorers and misfits, and all share the belief that we can do better by helping one another, by engaging and by ‘bringing it’ every day. And we have just one rule: no assholes. Seriously.”

The venue includes flex spaces, shared worktables, private alcoves, and dedicated and premium dedicated desks. Meeting rooms accommodate up to 12 people and include audio and video conferencing capabilities, writable and magnetic wall surfaces, and access to copy and print facilities. Less traditional spaces include the Single (a private space that can be reserved), the Garden (an event space that can accommodate 30 for a class, workshop or social gathering) and the Library. 

Membership options:
Members can choose from on-demand, five-day, 10-day and full-time plans. 

Amenities:
WiFi, convenience printing, a custom app, an indoor garden, shower facilities, mail slots and a CSA drop-site. A la carte amenities include lockers, dedicated indoor bike storage, pet memberships, package handling, dedicated layout and pin-up spaces, and large format color and black-and-white printing.

In the neighborhood:
Scout Workshop is located in LynLake. “It is artsy and gritty, mature and modern. It is adjacent to both the Greenway and Bryant Avenue bike boulevard, is easily accessed from downtown and the suburbs [and] is along a major public transportation route. We have a slew of interesting cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as loads of independent retail stores, and a variety of health and fitness spaces. You name it; it’s here,” says Rose-Dunning.


BRICK X MORTAR was founded to create a unique social environment comprised of a carefully handpicked group of members.

Workplace vibe: 
Brick x Mortar is a boutique, invitation-only social lounge and shared workspace located in a historic brownstone in downtown Minneapolis. Members have 24/7 access to the space along with top-of-the-line amenities like a high-end residential kitchen, bar, formal conference room with seating for 10, open lounge areas for meetings and socializing, and a media lounge. Additional lounge seating and tables are scattered throughout the space. “Our network of members consists of influential business owners, philanthropists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and other renowned members of the Twin Cities community,” says director of business development Reece Anderson.

Membership options:
Individual membership is a $1,500 initiation plus $300 per month. Corporate membership is a $15,000 initiation plus $2,000 per month and includes one free rental of the space per year for holiday parties, receptions, etc.

Amenities:
Amenities include private lockers, private conference room, on-site concierge, a stocked refrigerator with a variety of beverages, as well as member events. “One of the extraordinary features of the Brick x Mortar space is the exclusive rooftop patio. The fire pits, lounge seating, grill and fully stocked bar make this a haven for members to enjoy,” says Anderson.

In the neighborhood: 
Brick x Mortar is located in the Warehouse District/North Loop neighborhood, within walking distance to bars and restaurants, hotels, Target Field and Target Center.


COLLIDER is the only coworking space in Rochester. “We opened Collider because we believed that the business future of our region was strong. One of the biggest parts of our growth will be startup and scale-up companies.  We believe that having a hub for entrepreneurs in downtown Rochester will further jumpstart our entrepreneurial ecosystem,” says community manager Jamie Sundsbak.

Workplace vibe: 
Collider Coworking is an open concept coworking space. Dedicated desks and hot desks are available. For phone calls or a bit more privacy, three quiet rooms are available, and two conference rooms can be reserved.  

“We cater to many types of companies and individuals. From health care and IT startups to freelancers, remote workers, nonprofits and high school student entrepreneurs. We love to have a new entrepreneur sit next to a serial entrepreneur. There is an instant bond that develops and ends up benefitting both parties,” says Sundsbak.

Membership options:

  • Three membership options are available:
  • Permanent desk: $325 a month.
  • Hot desk: $220 a month.  
  • Ten hours/week: $100 a month.  
  • A drop-in rate is also available for $35/day. 

Amenities:
All membership plans come with 24/7 access to the building, as well as fiber internet, access to conference and quiet rooms, free drinks and snacks, and access to a great community of people.

In the neighborhood:
Collider Coworking is in Discovery Square in Rochester — just blocks to Mayo Clinic.  Discovery Square is part of the Destination Medical Center initiative. In addition to its proximity to Mayo Clinic, Collider is blocks away from fine dining, hotels and the convention center.


WORK IT

“I opened this space because there was almost no coworking offered in St. Paul (nothing with parking) and because it was breaking my heart watching my friends battle diabetes, depression, obesity and back pain. I knew that if they did not have sedentary careers, this suffering would be diminished. No one should have to trade their health for their career,” says owner Anne Hendrickson. “We’ve made international news for our approach to offices and health and wellness. Our core belief is that movement is the gateway to all other health. We are uniquely designed with furniture, equipment and culture that allow people to move functionally and productively as they work on a computer.”

Workplace vibe:
Wellness is the word at Work It. All desks sit or stand at the touch of a button and walking and spinning (bike) desks, as well as balance boards and wobble stools are all available. Workspaces include private offices and open, collaborative areas with plenty of nooks and crannies for privacy and concentration. Conference rooms can also be rented for off-site and strategic-planning meetings. “Work It is a very welcoming community. People work hard and focus, but when you come up for air, there are friendly people around. We have a mix of small firms, solopreneurs and remote employees of larger companies. We have all industries from writers, app developers, engineering firms, digital media, nonprofits, recruitment and travel agents,” says Hendrickson.

Membership options:
Small firm, individual and private-office memberships that are open 24/7. 

Amenities:
Free parking, printer, gig WiFi, fitness equipment, showers, a lactation/privacy room, free coffee and a full kitchen. 

In the neighborhood:
“Our neighborhood is exploding. It has over 100 local restaurants within a one-mile radius, six breweries, a distillery, ax throwing and extreme mini golf, and soccer. We’ve managed to keep our history and authenticity while developing and evolving into the Twin Cities hot spot with an amazing art and food scene,” says Hendrickson. 


WEWORK was founded in 2010 in New York City. “Our founders wanted to build a community where people can make a life, not just a living,” says Leor Reef, senior manager of public affairs. The company has more than 285 locations around the world and more than 265,000 members. WeWork has two locations in Minneapolis: WeWork Capella Tower and WeWork 1350 Lagoon (opening December 2018). “As a member of WeWork in the Twin Cities, you also have access to our global network of members and workspaces,” says Reef.

Workplace vibe: 
WeWork members run the gamut from entrepreneurs, freelancers and startups, to artists, small businesses and even divisions of large corporations. “Common areas tend to be bustling with music playing and lots of people congregating and buzzing about — this yields a fantastic, infectious energy and is a good place to have meetings and hang out. Separately, we have a few different types of spaces within each location,” says Reef. Office spaces and conferences rooms constitute a middle ground. Shared offices are quieter and more removed than the common areas but still generate a feeling of closeness with the activity of people working around them. Phone booths, breakout or tucked-in areas scattered around the spaces offer members a bit more privacy.
 
Membership options:

  • Hot desk: Guaranteed workspace in a common area at one location. Just bring your laptop, pick an open seat and get to work. ($250/month)
  • Dedicated desk: A desk of your own in a shared space at one location. You’ll set up shop in the same spot each day. ($350/month)
  • Private Offices: Enclosed, lockable offices can accommodate teams of any size. (Starting from $520/month)

Amenities:
Micro-roasted coffee, fruit water, a wellness room, professional and social events, unique common areas, phone booths, conference rooms.
 
In the neighborhood: 
WeWork Capella Tower: WeWork Capella Tower is located in the center of Minneapolis’ arts and culture scene. The northbound bus has a stop right at the door, a light rail station is one block away, and the address offers direct highway access. There’s also covered parking and bike storage on-site. “The building is part of the Minneapolis Skyway System, making it easy to access the surrounding city blocks even during the winter,” says Reef. 


FLOCK is proof that sometimes the simplest of solutions make the most sense. Its founders and owners fell in love with the building and wanted a cool, creative atmosphere to work in. 

Workplace vibe:
The vibe is casual, creative and productive with an open-seating arrangement of shared desks and tables and private desks and pods, as well as multiple meeting spaces and a recording studio. Members are mostly creatives: artists, marketers, designers, musicians, linguists, programmers and event planners. “The ideal client is a solopreneur or small business with one to four people who are involved in the creative genre,” says Scott O’Malley, community manager of Flock.
 
Membership options:
Several membership options are available, from daily drop-in rates of $35/day, and
varying levels of monthly memberships
($150/month up to 10 days a month to $400/month for 24/7 access). A photo shoot and location filming space are available starting
at $100/hour. 

Amenities:
Coffee and treats, networking events, happy-hour brainstorming sessions, restaurant discounts, on-site staff, mail services and a dog-friendly workplace. 

In the neighborhood:
“We are on the corner of 26th and First Avenue South in a transition neighborhood, one block east of Nicollet. Most people walk to lunch on Eat Street; there are also many coffee shops within walking distance. Many members are neighbors who bike to work,” says O’Malley.


THE COVEN'S four co-founders came together to cultivate a dynamic, diverse community of women and non-binary folks who inspire one another to lead more empowered lives. “We worked to build a container for the magic and energy women make when they come together, says co-founder Alex West Steinman. “The Coven is not just about getting work done, it’s about being in a community, lifting up other women and non-binary people, and supporting others in their transformation.”
 
Workplace vibe: 
The Coven is a cozy space that feels like a home away from home. Some floors have communal space and elevated energy with a fully stocked, free snack pantry from The Wedge Coop; another floor is quieter for focused work or relaxation. Spaces include coffee shop–style coworking, private phone booths and conference rooms. People can work at any of the couches, chairs, tables and desks available. Standing 

desks, dual monitor options, wheelchair accessibility and comfortable couch seating are all available. “Our members are intersectional across age, race, industry and socioeconomic background. We’ve intentionally built a community that reflects the make-up of the Twin Cities,” says West Steinman 

Membership options:
Monthly memberships are $200/month, and annual memberships are $2200/year. At the core of the business is a 5-for-1 community-funded membership. “For every five paid members, we gift one to a woman in the community from a traditionally underrepresented group. To date, we’ve been able to give away more than 60 memberships,” says West Steinman.

Amenities:
Free access to most Coven events, free pantry snacks and beverages, access to The Coven library, weekly yoga, showers, and other perks and discounts.

In the neighborhood:
The Coven is located in the North Loop, conveniently near several bus stops, highway entries and bike trails. Top restaurants are within walking distance, and Kado No Mise is located on the first floor of the building.  


 

N401 STUDIOS is a place for clients to gather. “We cultivate a culture of planning and team alignment and created a space where that can happen. We are the home base for planning, innovation and creativity,” says CEO Dean Broadhead. The venue offers partnerships with clients, restaurant owners and other coworking places to provide its members with creative solutions to their business needs.
“We are a ‘rent-a-room’ and ideation studio location — a place where our members can bring their clients and facilitate meetings, and hold planning sessions and training seminars in an open, industrial setting. We are a welcome alternative to stale hotel meeting rooms and are rented by all types of agencies and companies to drive innovation,” says CEO Dean Broadhead.

Workplace vibe:
The space encompasses the second floor of 401 building. Half of the floor is dedicated to a large ideation studio with brick walls and tons of natural light, while the other half has a smaller ideation studio and two conference rooms. On the first floor of the building is N401 Studios’ content studio with shooting and edit bays, sound recording booths, podcast series space and events space.

Membership options:
The Ideation Studios rent is $2,000 per day with two discount packages: Five-day pack (to be used within a calendar year) for $9,000 or a 10-day pack (to be used within a calendar year) for $15,000.

Amenities:
Complimentary WiFi and projection. Concierge services for both facilities for catering and event logistics.

In the neighborhood:
N401 Studios is on the corner of First Avenue and Fourth Street in the heart of Minneapolis’ Warehouse district. Surrounding the building are nightspots, restaurants and shops. You can “catch a concert, a comedy show or just enjoy the city,” says Broadhead. Target Field, Viking Stadium and hotel options are all within walking distance.


SPACES originated in Amsterdam in 2008. It was created on the idea that success breeds more success. “With the North Loop neighborhood being such an up-and-coming neighborhood for new startup companies and entrepreneurs, it was the perfect fit for another [Spaces] location,” says community manager Anna Jergensen. “We are owned by a company called International Workplace Group (IWG), which also owns companies, such as Regus, Signature, Basepoint and No. 18.” 

Workplace vibe: 
Spaces is a free-spirited and energetic community in an open and inviting space. Members are positive, open-minded business thinkers — small business owners and entrepreneurs — who love to meet new people. 

Membership options: 
When a tenant signs a membership agreement with Spaces, they can work out of any of its 3,100 locations (including Spaces, Regus, Signature, Basepoint and No.18) worldwide.

Amenities:
Our dedicated desks allow 24/7 access to the center and come with a locker and access to a full offering of services, a program of professional community events and coffee. 

In the neighborhood:
Spaces is located in the vibrant North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Local businesses and restaurants within walking distance include Whole Foods, Black Sheep Pizza, Red Rabbit/Red Cow and Freehouse. 


MODERNWELL was a lifetime in the making, according to CEO Julie Burton. It was created as a supportive and inspiring space — an incubator of sorts — where women could work, connect and create and also practice self-care. “We focus on merging work and wellness, which makes us stand out from other coworking spaces. We are invested in the health and well-being of each one of our members and provide services and ongoing programming that focuses on physical, mental, relational and financial health, as well as offering women a space to be inspired to do their best work,” says Burton.

Workplace vibe: 
The vibe is inspiring, Zen-like, homey, joyful and a photographer’s dream. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide great lighting year-round. You’ll be working next to writers, editors, teachers, therapists, artists, photographers, wellness experts, doctors, bankers, stay-at-home moms, nutritionists, entrepreneurs and the “trying-to-figure-it-out-ers.”
 
Membership options:
There are several member options at varying price points, from community space to personal desks, private offices, flex space and corporate memberships. 

Amenities:
Free parking, printers, podcast studios, relaxation room, yoga classes, “lunchtime learnings” and writing classes (to name a few). A newly opened patio provides outdoor seating. Space is also available for rent for private and company events, retreats, off-site meetings, and photo and video shoots.

In the neighborhood:
ModernWell is located just west of downtown Minneapolis on the south side of 394 in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood. Offices are walking distance from the Cedar Lake trails and Wirth Parkway.