When you need office space, two options are buying your own building or leasing one. But there is a third option – renting a furnished office equipped with support staff and all the necessary infrastructure. Regus, a leading provider of such office space, has a global network of 3,000 locations – 16 in the Portland/Vancouver area.
On March 14, Regus opened its second Vancouver location, on the fourth floor at 1220 Main Street. Similar to the company’s Vancouver Mall location, the new location is in a high-traffic area near many amenities.
“Through our success at our Vancouver Mall location, we have been looking for opportunities to expand in Vancouver,” said Lance Gardner, Washington/Oregon vice president for Regus. “The first opportunity is the downtown location. We are also looking at options east of I-205.”
Companies such as Regus offer affordability through economy of scale. Clients can take advantage of prime office location without having to worry about decorating, hiring a receptionist, installing Wi-Fi or phone. They can focus on running their business and let Regus handle the rest.
“We offer one of the only shared services / small space options in downtown Vancouver,” said Gardner. “We’re seeing a number of downtown Portland companies feeling the squeeze of rent increases. Some of them are looking more closely at Vancouver, especially if they have Washington employees.”
Steven Altergott, sales manager for Mass Mutual Financial Group, said his firm is expanding from their home base in Lake Oswego, and was attracted to the downtown location (they were previously in another Regus-owned space).
“We wanted to be downtown, in a nicer space,” said Altergott.
The Main Street location offers a wide variety, with a total of 56 offices. There are 12 single offices suitable for a CPA or an attorney, modern collaborative spaces for high-energy teams, and suites for larger entities. Altergott said his firm is renting three offices accessed by a private hallway. Meeting rooms are also available for one-time use for presentations or business luncheons.
Gardner said that it took about a year to open the downtown Vancouver center. He first toured the building around Christmas in 2014 and really liked what the building owner (NW Equity Holdings) had done with renovations to the first floor. Throughout the following months, he visited the building several more times.
“I had some reservations at first, but each time I went back it was busier and busier – the city was coming to life and excitement was starting to build,” stated Gardner. “At the same time our Vancouver Mall location was doing well and customers kept saying ‘if you only had a location downtown!’ and ‘I wish you had a location closer to I-5!’ – there was truly a pent-up demand.”
“It’s my understanding that available office space is limited,” Altergott said.
Since opening in March, the new 14,334 square-foot downtown location is more than 35 percent occupied. Gardner is confident that the client base will grow quickly, especially with the new life the Waterfront Vancouver development project is bringing to the area.
“People like to work close to home,” said Gardner. “Our center will offer a great option to work in a beautiful center less than a mile from the new condos and apartments/living areas.”
According to Gardner, the demand for Regus’ services has been growing exponentially. He joined the company about three years ago. At that time, Regus had seven locations in Portland. Since then, the company has added nine locations, two of them in Vancouver. He said that Regus’ business model “works very well when we have centers in clusters” and that as the company grows they intentionally create more density.
Gardner said the growing popularity of office space provided by Regus centers around the ability to have a professional image combined with the power of shared resources.
“We can provide Fortune 500 technology and resources to even a small company – it’s totally plug-and-play,” said Gardner.
“Having infrastructure already established, a receptionist, use of meeting rooms, and a giant printer for substantial jobs works out for us,” said Altergott. “It’s all part of our rent.”
Gardner added that even small clients desire Class A office space, as exemplified by the new Main Street location, where offices have a bright, contemporary design with efficient, environmentally-friendly amenities such as lighting.
“Having an office here gives small businesses a more professional look than having their home address on their business card and meeting clients in a coffee shop,” said Altergott, who helps small business owners and entrepreneurs with financial planning. “It gives them a lot more clout.”
The view doesn’t hurt, either, joked Altergott – from the fourth floor, clients have sweeping views of the city and the Columbia River, the Port of Vancouver and the spires of the St. John’s Bridge in Portland. “It’s a really nice space – they did a good job remodeling this spot,” said Altergott.
Gardner stated that Regus will be adding more centers in Portland and in Vancouver over the next year, and that the Columbia River Economic Development Council has expressed interest in communicating with Regus regarding further expansion as the waterfront development takes shape.
“We certainly have interest in that,” said Gardner. “We’re excited to do our part to bring revitalization to downtown Vancouver so people don’t have to cross the bridge or go to another area to find a smaller space.”