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Wellington

Hutt Valley’s first dedicated coworking space to open next month

The Settlement will open in Petone in June 2017


 

 

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A new coworking space at 4 Jackson Street will open its doors in June this year. Called The Settlement, the space takes its name from Petone’s heritage as one of the first places settled in the Wellington region. 

The Settlement is the brain-child of Petone-based designer and business owner James Walshe. He was motivated to create the space after moving his own design studio from Wellington city to Petone in 2014. 

“Petone has traditionally been an industrial and retail area, but it is now a vibrant community and an attractive area to do business from. If you live locally, you can be at work in 5-10 minutes, and it’s easy to get into central Wellington for meetings outside of peak hours,” Walshe says. 

Having re-established his business in Petone, Walshe found that there were few options for small office spaces and nowhere for small businesses to gather together and network. 

“The Settlement is designed to fill this gap. With over 9,000 businesses based in the Lower Hutt, this space offers a unique way for businesses, entrepreneurs, startups and freelancers to share a space and facilities that would usually be reserved for larger organisations,” Walshe says.

In 2016, Walshe enlisted the help of JLL agent Jarrod Strong to find a suitable space in Petone for the new venture. Strong and Walshe put an emphasis on finding a landlord who supported the concept of co-working, as well as a space that encouraged collaboration. 

The pair eventually found a character building on the western end of Jackson Street, next to retailers such as MacPac, Bunnings and Briscoes. The 675sqm space will hold up to 70 members at any one time and includes breakout spaces and meeting areas to encourage collaboration and networking. 

“The building features exposed sawtooth rafters, good natural light and a high stud. It is currently being refurbished and will include a new kitchen and bathrooms,” Strong says.  

Walshe has already secured 25 members, including six from his own company Scratch Design, and staff from Deloitte Private who will use the space as a Hutt Valley base. Around 10 other businesses have expressed an interest in joining the space, including those in public relations, human resources, software developers and established start-ups. 

“We want to attract a wide variety of complementary businesses to The Settlement,” Walshe says. “This will mean that our members can benefit from each other’s expertise.”


Results from the latest Global Coworking Survey reveal that the number of coworking members worldwide is projected to reach nearly 1.2 million in 2017 – up from 835,000 in 2016. Similarly, the number of coworking spaces globally is set to grow from 11,300 in 2016 to 13,800 in 2017.  

The trend to coworking was initially led by start-ups, but more and more companies of different sizes and from different industries are exploring the benefits.  For example, in Amsterdam, companies such as IBM and Phillips are using co-working spaces to encourage innovation. 

Strong comments that coworking and flexible space are fast becoming critical components of wider corporate real estate and portfolio strategy. 

“Coworking can help satisfy the growing demand for agility, fluidity, and liquidity of space, while allowing companies to experiment in a ring-fenced environment without the need for organisational change,” Strong says. 



Notes:

• Coworking is typically involves the use of an office or other working environment by people who are self-employed or working for different employers to share equipment, ideas and knowledge.  

• The Global Coworking Survey is published annually by Deskmag magazine.​

Read the Stuff article here​. ​