Work This Way

Portland’s coolest new co-working space

Alex Hughes points enthusiastically to a roomy loft nestled beneath a row of huge skylights. “On the mezzanine,” he says, “we’ll have a number of private work desks, and perhaps a penthouse space and some private individual offices.” It’s a gorgeous spot, to be sure, but there truly aren’t any bad seats in this light-filled, high-ceilinged building that will soon house one of the city’s most stylish co-working spaces.

pearl workspaceThe 22,000-square-foot area comprising three distinct sections on two floors occupies the sleek Dynagraphics printing-company building, a fine example of Streamline Moderne architecture designed in 1945 by Richard Sundeleaf, who created a number of noteworthy Portland buildings. Cofounded by commercial realtor Hughes, local developer Jeff Arthur, and several other community leaders and investors, CENTRL Office ( is at 1355 NW Everett Street, adjacent to the industrial-chic Tilt burger joint and Ristretto Roasters coffeehouse—it’s slated to begin welcoming tenants later this fall.

Hughes envisions a co-working environment that hasn’t been attempted before in Portland. “We’re offering access and amenities typically out of reach for the little guy or gal: large-volume open areas, professional meeting space, flexible private offices, and an inspiring atmosphere that promotes the creative process.”

Clients can sign up for full- or part-time memberships and choose from common work spaces at long communal tables, dedicated fixed desks, secure offices, and larger team rooms. The large street-level room will provide a quiet, studious environment, while the airier upstairs space—which has a dramatic, soaring barrel-vaulted ceiling—will foster a chattier, more collaborative vibe. A third room will serve as an event space that can host everything from lectures and seminars to cocktail parties. Perks include free motorcycle and bike parking, underground car parking (for a fee), and a common coffee bar with complimentary beer and java as well as vending machines.

“We’re able to achieve a competitive price point for free agents and small teams thanks to the changing climate of the office.”

Don’t expect to see any partition board, cubicles, or similarly dreary trappings of cookie-cutter offices at CENTRL Office. The developers have retained the building’s handsome original bones, from the ranks of tall multipane windows to the bare, poured-cement and wood-plank floors.

If this co-working space in one of the city’s hottest real-estate neighborhoods sounds as though it’s geared toward only deep-pocketed entrepreneurs, think again. “We’re able to achieve a competitive price point for free agents and small teams thanks to the changing climate of the office,” says Hughes. He points out that massive stacked file cabinets and labyrinthine phone systems have gone the way of the dinosaur, and that workers today spend less time at their desks and more time out in the community engaging with colleagues and clients in cafes or on bike rides. “This means more people can occupy less space without it feeling crowded,” he adds. “And it allows us to create an efficient, sustainable model.” —Andrew Collins

Photos by Anne Reeser


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