The Space on State

Every so often I find something that surprises me in Olympia. I have thought that I would long be past being surprised, but that is not the case in Olympia. A couple of weeks ago I stuffed a flyer in my pocket. I figured I’d read it later, wasn’t even sure why I picked it up in the first place but I examined it while going though my coat pocket. It was a flyer for something called Space on State. I figured it was for some self storage place, like Shurgard or the Stuffit Inn. Turns out is was nothing like a self storage place.

From their own flier they describe it as “work, hobby & creative space”. Well, I had to read on.

“Welcome to Space on State, we provide space for your creative needs! Whether you’re a small business, artist or a hobbyist we can provide affordable, safe, private workspace. Rates starting at $95.00 a month.”

Indeed, the spaces are small, on the second floor at 112 NE State. The rooms are all private, they have locking doors (with transoms that actually open and let in air and light) and windows. The rooms seem to run around 100 square feet, or 10x10. I took a tour of the facilities with a friend, Claybourn Saticoy, and we were very impressed. Just the right combination of funk and professionalism. Most of the spaces were rented out already, some to therapy professionals and a variety of other organizations. And get this, they allow you to bring pets to the office with you. They also let you paint your office anyway you like so long as you return it to the landlord white when you vacate the premises.

A whole lot to like, it is hard to know where to start. For sure you can not live on the premises, but they are open 24/7. You can’t use the space as a retail space mostly because the building is controlled entry. I suspect you could use the tiny space as a show room and conduct retail business, but not in a traditional sense. The spaces are very wonderful, no great views, but you get a good feeling being there. There is bathroom and kitchen space available. Oh, the utilities are included and there is free wifi. You can install your own phone line if you desire.

Claybourn really liked the place and is ready to rent a space, the deposit requirements are minimal and even he can afford it on his SSI. Why would he want such a space? He says that he gets to be in the heart of Olympia and he wants to have his private library there. He can listen to his jazz music read the books he always wanted to read and right outside his door is all of Olympia. $100 a month is not bad for this and I agree. No telling what will go on in his space. I imagine him setting up some salon for jazz lovers with discussions and music going on late into the night. Coffee and tea flowing along with the strains Art Tatum in the background. Perhaps his buddy Roachie Woods will drop by with his old blind dog and play a little sax into the streets below. I envy Claybourn, he has almost nothing and yet he seems to have everything.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t have my own take on this. First of all I think what the owner of the property is just amazing to provide this affordable and very attractive space. The place must be a bee hive of activity during the day and no telling what is being hatched there. But I have to use Space on State as a starting point. Would it be possible to provide housing for the poor using this model? Sure you’d need real bathroom facilities, no doubt shared, and ditto for the kitchen facilities, but let’s say a 100 square foot room for $100 a month, with little or no deposit to get in. We’re talking little over 3 bucks a day for a place to live in the heart of Olympia. Sure it is no palace, but it is clean and warm, and more to the point, one’s own. Something like this could be very empowering and within the reach of the homeless. For sure something that could be incorporated into an Urban Layers model. The fellow that owns Space on State is making a buck. He’s not making a killing, but he is making a buck.

Space on State has a website, www.spaceonstate.com It seems to be borked right now but I’ve seen it up and running. Plenty more details there. Please don’t consider this as a spam for a commercial venture, no question I like what is being done there, but mostly I like to think how this concept can really help with far more serious problems.


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