This week the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, mankind’s greatest achievement in space exploration. For those of use stuck here on earth, the Inspire Business Center is celebrating a milestone in another kind of space. We have been providing West Loop office space for small businesses for 10 years. While the manned space exploration program seems to have moved at a snail’s pace for the last 50 years, both the West Loop neighborhood and the universe of shared office space have evolved at light speed in just the last 10.
When we opened in 2009, this West Loop neighborhood, just west of I-94, was a nice, but fairly quiet area sprinkled with residential and commercial buildings, as well as Greektown and the restaurant row on Randolph Street. In 2012, when Sterling Bay announced the acquisition of the Fulton Market Cold Storage building for Google’s Chicago Headquarters, the whole neighborhood took off like a rocket. The transformation includes high rise residential developments, hotels, office buildings, restaurants and shops.
Additionally, in the year 2009, the terms “coworking” “shared office space” was not even part of the lexicon. Our competition for “executive offices” consisted of Regus, Amata and a half dozen independent providers. At the time, we considered our biggest advantages to be our convenient location, the fact that every office in our building had a window and our on-site parking for both our clients and their guests. When a company named WeWork began opening “coworking spaces”, they used all glass so that light permeated the entire space. Now, just a few years later, behemoths like Industrious and Spaces have also descended upon the neighborhood and the trend is sure to continue.
Fortunately for us here at Inspire, many of our clients have been with us since we opened 10 years ago. We could only accommodate companies of up to 5-6 people back then, while today we offer spaces for much larger companies. We know their names and we know their clients. No matter how the world changes, there are still companies that prefer private window offices in a highly professional setting as the space to conduct their business and build their own company culture. And yes, the parking still comes in handy.