Coworking Boom Sweeps Island

Nov 16, 2018

Credit Impact Hub HNL / Facebook

Coworking spaces are now well-established on O‘ahu. And they’re no longer just an emerging trend — they’re an office space revolution.

Eight years ago, Honolulu had just one cowork space, BoxJelly in Kakaako, opened by Rechung Fujihira and then-business partner Anthony Stanford. Now there’s Impact Hub in Kaka‘ako, Treehouse Coworking in Kailua, MyGoCenter in Kapolei, and BoxJelly itself in a new, larger location, just to name a few.

In fact, coworking is a global phenomenon and even traditional commercial real estate firms are learning how to get in on it. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, imagine a sprawling, modern office setting where entrepreneurs and solo practitioners can rent as little as a desk for $225 a month at BoxJelly or as much as their own private office for about $1,400 a month at Treehouse Coworking.

Cowork spaces offer both a bargain and a sense of community, often having shared dining areas, or bringing in motivational speakers for their clients to learn from. These spaces offer low rent, flexibility and short-term leases that can’t be found in traditional office spaces.

Credit The BoxJelly Coworking / Facebook

And it’s not just young freelance graphic designers booking desks. When the Japanese retailer, Uniqlo, was preparing for its first Hawaii store at Ala Moana, its advance team rented an office at BoxJelly for the few months they needed dedicated space.

The world’s largest real estate services firm, CBRE, is diving in to this category in a big way, creating a new division called Hana to specialize in cowork spaces, to compete with global heavyweights like IWG and WeWork. How big is this category? WeWork alone was recently valued at $45 billion.