The story of 1212 Broadway

In October 2017, we decided we were going to bring Sphere to life. We spent months fleshing out our ideas, crunching our numbers with a financial team, creating our brand and pulling together the founding team of Gina Tega, Marielle Lorenz, and Signy Judd.

In February, we were finally ready to start the search to find a home for Sphere. We looked at many places within Oakland ranging from Jack London Square to Lakeshore Avenue. Putting offers on spaces felt a lot like dating. Either we’d like them, or they’d like us, but somehow we never seemed to like each other simultaneously.

Deals fell through right and left for a variety of reasons. None of us had ever negotiated a commercial lease before Sphere, so we were slow and needed a lot of handholding. Coworking, and especially our model which includes so much more, is still a new concept to landlords and was often really confusing and required more explanation and documentation.

In May 2018 we found a location that felt right on both sides—1212 Broadway. Finally, a dating match! A solar financing company occupied the space. They had outgrown the space, and we’re looking for a subtenant to occupy their beautiful office, which included eight living walls, plenty of streaming natural light and a mostly finished interior.

Both sides we ready to sign on the dotted line but the deal was complicated. In part due to it being a sublease, which meant extra moving parts and a three-way negotiation between us, the solar company and the building owner, but also because we are three new business owners without a professional track record as founders, a proven business model or lease experience.

What we initially thought would be a 2-3 month lease negotiation turned into six long months. We read more legal documents than any non-attorney should and spent about $50,000 in legal and architecture fees and other expenses to make the deal happen.

On October 31st, we finally received the keys to the new home of Sphere. We are thrilled. We have plenty of square footage to realize our full vision in a stunningly beautiful space right where we wanted to be in vibrant downtown Oakland. We cannot wait to show it off and have you join our community. Please Book A Tour and come visit us.

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