- Ironfire Workspaces is launching a new coworking space in Bellflower, CA.
- The space will be operated through a management agreement with Howard CDM.
- It’s located in a former department store and is set to open in March 2021.
Howard CDM, the company best known locally as the developer, builder, and managing partner of SteelCraft outdoor urban eateries, has selected Ironfire Workspaces of Long Beach, CA, to operate its new 8,500 square foot coworking facility in Bellflower through a branded management agreement.
Ironfire will manage and operate the new facility under its membership- based hospitality model and has been consulting with the owner/builder since October regarding the final build-out of the space.
“We’re very excited to be working alongside the team at Howard CDM,” said Ironfire founder and CEO Josh Rencher, “because of their track record of successful, innovative projects and because their values align so well with ours. We’re grateful for the opportunity to expand our workspace hospitality concept to the Bellflower community at a time that has been devastating for so many small businesses.”
The brand new facility, which will occupy the second floor of what was decades ago a JC Penney department store, will include 19 private offices of various sizes, lots of open workspace, several meeting rooms and phone booths, spacious kitchen and lounges, wellness room, micromarket, recreational space, virtual office accommodations, and event space.
As with Ironfire’s current Long Beach location, amenities at the Bellflower location will include all-day free parking, blazing-fast Internet, unlimited coffee supplied by local roasters, abundant natural light, an on-site hospitality team, and comprehensive health and safety protocols that include mask requirements, enhanced cleaning standards, temperature checks, air quality controls, and social distancing.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Ironfire,” said Howard CDM president and CEO Martin Howard. “We’re extending our hospitality portfolio to include flexible workspace at a time when people are looking for safer, serviced working environments that are close to where they live. This takes a specific expertise to execute successfully, and Ironfire has demonstrated that expertise.”
Ironfire’s expansion comes at a time when the flexible workspace industry, like much of commercial real estate, has suffered greatly from the effects of COVID-19. Unlike traditional office space, however, which many believe will not return to pre-pandemic occupancy levels when public health concerns have subsided, flexible workspace – and coworking in particular – is widely anticipated to benefit from an accelerated surge in demand.
“Companies of all sizes are rethinking their real estate strategy,” said Rencher, “but they’re also rethinking their workplace experience strategy. To retain talent, employers will need to provide their remote workforce with access to home office alternatives that offer intangible, experiential benefits like human connection and workday wellness. Likewise, many independent workers will seek out these benefits on their own.”
The new workspace will provide a floor-to-ceiling window view into the building’s enormous 20,000 square foot ground floor, which features 24-foot ceilings and is slated for a mixture of artisan maker and food & beverage tenants who have yet to be announced.
Howard CDM, which was previously headquartered adjacent to SteelCraft in Long Beach, has just relocated to the third and uppermost floor of the Bellflower building. The building was rehabilitated extensively after being saved from the wrecking ball by Howard CDM in 2018. It is expected to receive the coveted WELL Platinum certification, which recognizes buildings that meet the most rigorous standards of health and safety.
Indeed, adaptive reuse and purposeful redevelopment have become a sign of the times in the pandemic era as new social demands and unprecedented retail vacancies in every market have led to new ways of thinking about how buildings can be activated. “The JC Penney building was once a vibrant retail hub in Bellflower,” said Ironfire director of culture and operations Scott Dedo. “It’s exciting that we now have the opportunity to adapt this space to meet a more modern need, and it parallels the creative ways we’ve all learned to adapt our work lives over the past year.”
The City of Bellflower, which fell on difficult times following the Great Recession, has turned a corner in recent years with significantly increased traffic, renewed interest from big business and investors, and a planned Metro light-rail station which, once completed, will connect the city to major transit hubs in Downtown LA.
“The city is experiencing a growth of new construction, retail, and hospitality activity,” said Bellflower economic development director Jim Dellalonga. “Conservative financial management and investment in a revitalization plan contributed to some of the development successes seen around town, as well as a commitment to attract new businesses and identify blighted areas that can be reused for exciting purposes.”
Located at 17434 Bellflower Blvd, Ironfire Workspaces is headed for a March 1 opening of the new facility.