By Ed Fletcher
The Sacramento Bee.
No longer a novel concept, “co-working” spaces are growing up.
But increasingly, they’re also about more than just work.
While they do provide space for freelancers, independent contractors and other work nomads to plop down with their laptops or find a private office for a nominal membership fee, they’re also serving as quasi-community centers, with common areas that draw more than just paid members.
“We do co-working, but we’re so much more than that,” said Gina Lujan, Hacker Lab’s chief executive officer.
Hacker Lab’s common space — a large “L” shaped room — was bursting at the seams Tuesday as it celebrated its third anniversary, which included a visit from Congresswoman Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento.
Under the banner of “Build. Code. Unite,” Hacker Lab has grown into a hub for the tech community and a well-equipped workspace for the region’s “makers,” people who enjoy turning ideas into something tangible, anything from video games to lighting displays. At Tuesday’s event, the “maker” space (filled with 3-D printers, soldering irons and sewing machines) felt like a show-and-tell schoolroom, with various made-on-site projects on display.
Hacker Lab is just one player in the Sacramento region’s evolving constellation of community-minded co-working spaces. In September, three of Sacramento’s shared workspaces were ranked among the best 75 in the country. Symmetry50.com, which provides bookkeeping services for startups, listed The Urban Hive at No. 7, Hacker Lab at No. 9 and Capsity at No. 24.
And while midtown’s ThinkHouse closed its doors earlier this year, other shared workspaces are moving in or expanding. In January, Outlet Coworking took over a former art gallery on K Street. Hacker Lab, in partnership with Sierra College, is opening a new location in Rocklin. And in Elk Grove, Greg McAvoy-Jensen, owner of a Web design firm, plans to open his own co-working space, InnoGrove, later this year.