Over the past decade coworking spaces have been popping up in big cities across the nation and with the changes in the economy, these spaces have been successful in fostering new ideas and startup businesses.
In America the median income for independent workers is about $51 thousand, according to a 2012 government report by the State of Independence government report. This coworking movement has even made its way to the Richmond market. 804RVA is the area’s first and only official co-working space, which is fueled by creativity and techie innovation.
Coworking is a concept that was originally cultivated in the late 1990s from the term “jelly” in New York City by a group of freelancers and it has now evolved into a worldwide movement. The concept is to create a shared workspace for freelancers, consultants and other people who typically work from home. The idea is to develop a space where creativity and new ideas can grow and people can exchange designs while working productively and freely.
804RVA was founded October 2011 by local small business dynamo, Larkin Garbee. “I was just looking for a creative, collaborative office space and I hadn’t understood the coworking culture yet,” Garbee said. Wolf shirt days, creativity, collaboration and jelly pretty much sum up the co-working movement at RVA. 804RVA is located on the corner of Allen and Broad streets near the VCU campus.
Garbee’s personality and experience is the model that the 804RVA coworking structure was built around. “I have a passion for technology but I also represent a lot of other things for small businesses and marketing,” she said.
804RVA is an artistic, joint office area that is built in the showroom of Garbee’s other business, James River Tile. “I felt like it was a shame to have such a really gorgeous location that was being completely underutilized,” said Garbee. It wasn’t long before 804RVA was created.
“I think Larkin is really kind of the main reason most people are attracted to this and keep coming and that’s because she is a freaking fireball,” said Dorsey McFadden a digital marketing consultant and 804RVA coworker.
804RVA provides its members with varying levels of coworking zones including private offices, collaborative spaces, semi-private work areas and conference rooms. People come to 804RVA for a number of reasons including the value of working with others, for a sense of motivation, inspiration and unique networking opportunities. At 804RVA coworking gives people an opportunity to meet and interact with their peers in an environment that facilitates productivity and learning.
“To me and the next generation as a whole, we don’t want to just spend our time just passing out business cards. We want to learn, we want to get our hands on stuff and figure out how it works,” Garbee said. “Some coworking spaces are unique to having strictly just developers or just designers and I would say ours is truly a mix.”
Coworkers at 804RVA come from a variety of professional backgrounds such as web design, real estate, copy writing, web developing, marketing and researching.
804RVA is known for its culture because it is different from that of a traditional workplace culture, since there are no bosses there is no tension between supervisors and workers. “The culture changes day-to-day depending on who comes in,” said Dan Kanach, 804RVA coworker and owner of One Duck Creative, a small creative media company. “It is generally like-minded, driven people who want to be around other driven people.” Most 804 coworkers agree that 804RVA provides a fun environment where individuals are free to create and collaborate. “I couldn’t see myself working with other people if I wasn’t here,” Kasach said, who described himself as a bit of an introvert.
Matt Russo is another 804RVA coworker who has been a member almost since the beginning. Russo is a freelance graphic designer and is currently working developing projects for 804RVA. He says 804 is still trying to invent its culture. Currently people are working hands-on trying to make the space a more active community rather than a place used strictly for working. “Members are trying to make 804RVA a place where people interact together, work on projects together and go out together,” Russo said. 804RVA offers classes and organizes social events to strengthen the overall coworking community.
Brian Bassett is a software development principal at IBM and a coworker at 804RVA who chooses to work from 804RVA instead of his traditional office setting because he finds the environment to be more dynamic, exciting, interesting and collaborative. “It’s collaborative even though people work on their own projects, work for different businesses and have different goals,” Basset said.
Coworking is especially helpful to freelancers and remote workers because it provides those people with a sense of community and inspiration. “It creates a melting pot of creativity,” McFadden said, “not just design creative but techie too.” McFadden sees coworking spaces as motivational tools and she is driven by the office setting because it pushes her to be more accountable.
Coworking facilities like 804RVA operate based on memberships and provide members with better quality networking and stronger relationships. McFadden says small business people get the most out of these networking connections because it makes it easier access others and collaborate.
Coworking has helped some members break into new, cutting edge technology-based job markets. McFadden says coworking helps to hone professional skills and mold individual qualities and as a result of 804RVA she landed her first Pinterest account management job.
After talking with Garbee and Richmond’s coworkers the consensus is that people are tired of waiting on big companies to offer up jobs so they have taken matters into their own hands and created new jobs and projects through collaboration. People often turn to coworking spaces like 804RVA because of the lack of opportunities in traditional careers.
Some people agree with Dorsey McFadden and Dan Kanach and say coworking spaces serve a greater purpose as more transitional occupations. On the other hand others agree with Russo and Bassett and say these collaboration spaces have great potential to ultimately lead to better opportunities and new industries. As for Larkin Garbee, she says the future looks bright for coworking spaces in Richmond. As new ideas grow and evolve, she looks forward to playing host to more collaborative projects and classes in the future. She is currently planning on a larger scaled coworking space that will serve a larger community in the Greater Richmond Area by making things more accessible to non-members.
There are very few restaurants that have the distinction of having been successfully run for
16+ years 20 years [editor's note: confirmed after posting that the start year was 1993!], and even more rare is the restaurant that has done so with only one set of owners. Avalon Restaurant & Bar at 2619 West Main Street, in the Fan District, has done so under the care of owner Peter Harahan since he first renovated and opened it so many years ago.
Even as a well-established restaurant, Avalon has recently gained recognition by bringing in Chef Jen Mindell to add her well-known flair to the kitchen. Chef Mindell was recently recognized by the Richmond restaurant community as a 2013 Elby Nominee for “Rising Culinary Star”.
Congratulations to the new owners, Walied Sanie and James Baldwin (pictured), who took the reins from Peter Harahan effective late yesterday afternoon. The new owners are keeping the staff in place and will do some remodeling after getting settled into ownership. I look forward to seeing how their vision of the restaurant develops and the changes you will make happen over the years to come.
This particular restaurant holds a special place in my heart because not only have I been close friends with a number of the staff here over the years, but also it is the place where I met my wife several years ago. It means a lot to me to have been involved in this deal, and I appreciate that it will remain to be Avalon under the new ownership.
**Richard Holden and Nathan Hughes, both with Bandazian & Holden, Inc., brokered the sale of the business and coordinated the new lease with the owner of the building.
Have you noticed a recent spike in your monthly rent? A lot of people have, and it’s a trend not only locally but in markets across the country.
According to http://news.investors.com, over the past several years homeowning has become more difficult and former homeowners are now becoming tenants in mulitifamily dwellings. Due in large part to the economic downturn, many homeowners today can no longer afford to pay a monthly mortgage and instead are resorting to the next alternative: renting apartments.
As with most news, this is a mixed bag — it’s not good for renters, but it does make for a strong market for multifamily properties, supporting higher sales prices and spurring new development and redevelopment of multifamily properties. (see last week’s post about local development for current examples of this happening right here in Richmond)
Across the nation, multifamily properties are leading in occupancy and rent growth when compared to commercial developments, like office space and retail properties.
In a recent housing study by commercial property brokerage firm Cassidy Turley, chief economist Kevin Thorpe said:
“I’m optimistic about the multifamily sector, certainly for the next two years…We’ve entered a period of sustained rent growth.”
This recent boom in multiple tenants occupying apartment units is due to the fact that the average renter a year ago could afford the rent for a single family home when now the cost is too high.
Have you seen this happening when your lease has come up for renewal? What do you think the renting forecast will look like in RVA for the rest of 2012?
This makeover was the highlight of discussion at Venture Richmond’s Annual Downtown Development Forum last Thursday, May 31st, as Richmond’s business leaders, developers and architects met to reveal their latest ideas for up and coming projects.
Proposed projects included the VCU School of Medicine building, the Virginia Biotechnology Park, a 150,000-square-foot addition for Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc, as well as several apartment buildings in the Manchester and business districts.
Over $120 million is going into creating more residential spaces across the downtown area, according to agbeat.com, who says the recent heightened demand for apartments is a result of the drop in the Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI).
Fyi, the MVI measures the multifamily housing industry’s perception of vacancies which has recently dropped to a level of 31, an all time low.
“Multifamily construction continues to be a bright spot in the overall housing market,” said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe, in a report by agbeat.com.
Residential development across Richmond was a large part of the revitalization plans discussed at last Thursday’s forum. For more information about how the State is funding these different projects, click here.
“We’re a long way from closing,” said Franklin Development’s Manager, Thomas Wilkinson, who discussed the possibility of over 300 apartments, office space and an upscale grocer at Thurday’s forum.
Although the project plans aren’t official yet, Wilkinson assures Richmond-ers that the development will revitalize the Manchester district and appeal to the area’s increasipopulations on. Checkouts Richmond BizSense’s coverage of the Reynolds Development for more info.
Millions of dollars from the City are being put into new construction on the VCU campuses, as well as some of Richmond’s most beloved landmarks, including the Main Street Station Clock Tower and 17th Street.
The idea behind Richmond’s makeover? To transform traditonal buildings and warehouses into modern, revitalized structures for public use.
Be sure to keep your eyes open, as these new developments pop up across the city!
For all you dessert enthusiasts out there anticipating the next sweets shop to open up in Carytown, the time is almost here! Among a bevy of bakeries, sweets and confectionery shops, Carytown will be adding to its list of sweets shops a bigger location for Carytown Cupcakes and a new dining spot for French cuisine: Carytown Creperie.
Carytown Cupakes, a Richmond tradition known for its decadent desserts, is opening its new location at 3111 West Cary Street, across from Can Can Brasserie. A grand opening date for the new location is still up in the air, but owners Dawn & Albert Schick promise the new and improved cupcake boutique is coming soon with even better cupcake concoctions. (Meanwhile, the old location at 2820 West Cary Street is still open!)
After the big move, the former cupcake shop will be magically transformed into Carytown Creperie, a new crepe shop featuring the traditional French-inspired cuisine with a twist: fast, take-away crepes for on-the-go dining.
About once a month I get a question about the large, vacant property that borders Staples Mill Road that is just north of West Broad Street, right over the Henrico Count line. My answer is always that it was an old, rundown neighborhood that was purchased and cleared with the intention of rebuilding, and that the developer is the same group that is doing the project at Monument Avenue and Willow Lawn Drive — Gumenick Properties. As to why it hasn’t been started, well just look around at new building all around the country. The developer was obviously waiting until the economy turns around.
But, I always have to give that answer with the caveat that the last official word I had heard about it was a few years ago. I couldn’t even be sure that the same plans were in place. Thankfully I can point to this article on Richmond.com that gives us the lowdown on the current situation — which is pretty much as described as above. It sounds as though things are just on hold, but the same big plans are still on the books. In fact, this project is expected to take 10 years even once they finally get underway.
You need to go read the article to see all of the reported details, but I thought I would share a couple of details of the plans here:
What: Staples Mill Centre, proposed to include 1,096 apartments, 571 condominiums, 391 townhouses, 32 single-family homes, 60,000 square feet of offices, and 100,000 square feet of stores.
Where: About 80 acres between Staples Mill Road, Libbie Avenue and Bethlehem Road, near Interstate 64.
Understanding Landlord Insurance
By: Dona DeZube
Published: September 1, 2010
Turning your home into a rental or buying an investment property? Expect to pay up to 20% more for the right insurance policy to protect your property.
Rental properties require their own type of coverage–landlord insurance, which is different than the homeowners policy you buy when you live in a house yourself. Landlord insurance protects you against losses from fire, lighting, falling trees, wind and hail, water damage, and injury to your tenants and their guests.
But it doesn’t cover the renters’ household goods. So encourage tenants to buy a renters policy to cover their stuff. You can even include a clause in your lease saying they have to buy renters insurance, so everyone is clear about what’s insured and what’s not.
Landlord insurance is expensive
You’ll pay 15% to 20% more for a landlord insurance policy than you will for a homeowners policy on the same house–and even more if you offer short-term rentals. Start your policy shopping by calling the company that sold you your homeowners insurance, then check with an independent insurance agent selling commercial and business policies.
Ask how you can get discounts if you have fire prevention devices, burglar alarms, or multiple properties.
What a landlord insurance policy probably will cover:
- Lightning, windstorm, hail, explosion, riot and civil commotion, smoke, falling objects, snow, ice, sleet, vandalism, sonic boom, sprinkler leakage, frozen pipes, water damage, burglary, volcanoes, and sinkholes.
- Things that belong to you that stay at the property, like appliances, furniture, or lawn care equipment. Keep an inventory of what’s on site.
- Outbuildings, like sheds or garages, although this coverage will have its own limit (probably 10% of the overall insurance policy amount).
- Costs to defend yourself against lawsuits filed by tenants or guests, as well as the costs awarded if you lose the case. Some policies cover medical bills for injuries; some don’t.
- Lost rental income if the property is damaged and you can’t rent it.
What a landlord insurance policy probably won’t cover:
- The tenants’ belongings.
- Your rental property if it’s vacant for more than 30 days. Seek an exemption in advance from your landlord insurance company as soon as you know the property is going to be vacant.
- War and nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attacks.
Optional coverage you might want to buy:
- Vandalism (if the policy you buy excludes it)
- Pool and tennis court insurance
- Liability for personal injury, wrongful eviction, wrongful entry, libel, and slander
Don’t forget liability coverage
To cover yourself in case you lose a big court case filed by an injured tenant, buy anumbrella insurance policy that gives you liability protection for $1 million to $5 million or more if you have a lot of assets to protect.
Don’t file a claim unless you absolutely have to
There’s a limit to how many claims you can file before insurance companies start charging you more or canceling your policies. Claims can quickly add up as you buy more rental properties.
One time you always want to file a claim is when someone says they’ve been injured on your property. One claim you’ll want to avoid filing: water damage for less than $10,000 because worries about mold growing in water-damaged properties will lead some insurers to immediately cancel your insurance policy.
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Dona DeZube, HouseLogic’s News Editor, has been writing about real estate for over two decades. She lives in a suburban Baltimore 1970s rancher on a 3-acre lot shared with possums, raccoons, foxes, a herd of deer, and her blue-tick hound.
Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.
Copyright 2011 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
There is always a lot of new legislation passed every year that sounds like a good idea at the time and generally goes unnoticed, and every once in a while the consequences of that legislation become horrifyingly apparent afterwards.
This past year, the legislation that was causing so much heartburn for small property owners was a new IRS requirement that anyone with rental property file a 1099 for any repairs that add up to $600+ over the course of the year. (see my post about it here, from December 2010)
Good news — the provision was repealed before it could take effect!! (here is the actual legislation that was passed to repeal the IRS provision, in case you would like to read it)
Hats off to the Realtor community for standing against this for the good of the mom-and-pop investors, who are the ones would be most affected by those proposed requirements — and for Realtor Magazine’s blog for bringing the repeal to my attention. From their description of how everything unfolded, it seems as though everyone understood that this was good to do:
When the provision was included in the small business bill, REALTORS® were among the first and firmest opponents of it, helping to ensure that Congress understood the provision was an example of over-reach that was never intended to burden mom and pop property owners. Members of Congress and President Obama got the message and, in a rare example of agreement between not only Republicans, Democrats, and independents, but also between House and Senate chambers and between the legislative and executive branches, lawmakers agreed the provision needed to come out.
Nice to know that we don’t have this provision coming up to haunt us over the next few years, isn’t it?
The redevelopment of the old Verizon building at 10 N. Nansemond Street has been hotly debated and contested. (see: the official site for the Carytown Place; Don’t Big Box Carytown‘s website; & this post and the accompanying comment thread on Caramelized Opinions for a good summary & feel of the debate)
The Museum District Association had originally ruled to oppose the redevelopment based on the original plans, but Friday they sent out a press release announcing the reversal of that position. The gist of the situation can be summed up from this one paragraph in the press release:
The Board voted 13-1 in November to oppose the original SUP and subsequently provided the applicant with detailed requests for further changes to make it more amenable to the neighborhood. The applicant responded by altering the SUP to remove vehicular ingress/egress on Nansemond Street as well as reduce the number of available uses of the property to 10 uses. The applicant also agreed to limit the usable floor space of any one tenant to no more than 25,000 square feet, ensuring there would be multiple tenants in the building and ruling out a single, larger “big box” tenant.
The whole press release can be read here on the MDA’s website (right now it’s at the top, but it will shift down the page as new releases are issued).
What do you think? Are you satisfied with the MDA’s ruling, or are the changes in the plan not enough for you? In that case, what changes would be enough to get your support for the development?