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Kiln’s lobby opens into a shared desk space, a sitting area and a kitchen. (Lucas High/BizWest / Courtesy photo)
Kiln’s lobby opens into a shared desk space, a sitting area and a kitchen. (Lucas High/BizWest / Courtesy photo)

Kiln is betting that people will return to the office after the COVID-19 pandemic and that many of those who do will opt for a coworking space rather than a traditional office building.

The Utah-based coworking chain opened its first Colorado location this month in a transformed retail lot on Boulder’s Pearl Street.

Kiln gives tenants access to stand-up desks attached to treadmills. (Lucas High/BizWest / Courtesy photo)

The stylishly designed and furnished 22,000-square-foot space has room for about 400 workers spread across private offices, dedicated desks and shared desk spaces. Amenities include several kitchen areas, a podcast studio, lounge areas, stand-up desks affixed to treadmills, and quiet nooks for private phone calls or solitary concentration.

Kiln’s soft opening was two weeks ago and the company celebrated an official grand opening Thursday evening. So far, a small handful of companies have taken up residence in the space.

“Our sales pipeline is actually pretty robust — there’s plenty of interest,” Kiln’s head of sales and market Bright Youd told BizWest. “But right now I think people are just a little bit reluctant to make a decision, especially since we’ve seen a spike” in Colorado’s COVID-19 infections.

“We anticipate (demand) will improve again,” he said.

The company has been paying close attention to commercial real estate analysts, brokers and developers to determine “how they see the future going,” Youd said. “The future genuinely is in what we provide: flex office space and coworking.”

Coworking spaces often provide more flexible lease options than traditional commercial rental spaces, an important perk during times of economic uncertainty.

“Businesses are much more dynamic and nobody knows what’s three months ahead. Everyone wants agility and flexibility in terms of bringing in talent quickly or shrinking talent if they need to,” Youd said. “At Kiln, you can join as a four-person team and be (able to house) a 40-person team the next month.”

Kiln has taken steps to reduce tenant concern over the spread of COVID-19 such as increasing cleanings by a multiple of four, implementing touchless key technology and installing air-ionizing HVAC systems, Youd said.

“We’ve doubled down on the health and safety of our spaces,” he said. “This is the same technology used in hospitals. It’s not often used in office spaces. But we don’t want to be a middle of the road performer, we want to be an excellent office space, a safe office space.”

Kiln has four existing coworking spaces in Utah, and Youd said Boulder was “a natural fit” for the company’s first out-of-state expansion.

“Our brand lends itself to an ecosystem like Boulder that’s lifestyle-focused,” he said. “People here appreciate community and a more heightened way of living.”

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