After a setback forced it to leave its original location in Goochland County, one of the region’s newest coworking ventures is ready to relaunch.
Balance Space, which offers onsite child care and shared spaces catering to working parents, open its new home at 10431 Patterson Ave. on Jan. 2.
Friends and fellow working moms Amyrose Miller and Bunny Young first launched Balance Space in summer 2017 in a 4,000-square-foot space in a Rockville building, with plans to renovate the space that August.
But in July, the Rockville building’s HVAC system broke down and the repair costs were estimated at $50,000, which Balance Space’s landlord wouldn’t pay, Miller said.
The duo decided to regroup and relaunch elsewhere.
“They (the landlord) gave us almost all of our money back, which was pretty fantastic,” Miller said. “It was incredibly embarrassing that we had to stop and then start over though.”
They found the Patterson Avenue space and signed a 10-year lease for 11,000 square feet; monthly rent is $15,000. Finishing touches to retrofit the former Commonwealth Eye Care Associates building are underway ahead of the January launch. Judy Gild of CBRE manages the property.
Miller said they’ve invested about $70,000 in Balance Space. She and Young self-funded it, plus they secured $25,000 each from the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority.
Balance Space offers access to coworking space starting at $250 per month and private offices for $800 a month. Members have access to onsite child care, a conference room and kitchen. There’s also a podcast production room. Nonmembers may rent the conference room for $25 an hour, or a day pass with child care starts at $50 per day.
In addition to a playroom, there is a room where schoolchildren can focus on their homework. There’s also a nursing lounge for mothers who breastfeed. Miller plans to have three child care professionals on staff.
“We can alleviate some of the financial burden on these women and men who are doing their own thing,” Miller said. “And to have the security of knowing your children are here onsite.”
Miller will use Balance Space as an additional satellite office for Nouveau, her sign printing company. Young will offer small business counseling through her firm, A Better Place Consulting, to Balance Space clients as part of their membership.
Users include Amanda Team, a consultant with OptimumEd, who rents a private office, and Emmie Croxford, owner of Richmond Moms Blog, who previously was at the Rockville location.
Balance Space joins a growing trend of co-working spaces popping up around the area, including Venture X, Novel, Gather, VCU’s Founder’s Corner and The Broad. Balance Space is the first to feature onsite child care.
Miller said she and Young were inspired to launch Balance Space by their own experiences and their children, and said it’s not just for working mothers.
“We’re wrestling with how to not alienate dads,” Miller said. “I guess you have to pick the low-hanging fruit, which I guess would be women because so often child care falls to us, even if we do have a career or things going on.”