In its 100 years, 5 Alexander Street in Crows Nest has had a fascinating history. With a new, luxury fit-out that highlights many original features, it has become the ideal location for a local coworking space, thanks to COG work+space.
When David Black was looking for a building to fulfil his dream of creating a modern shared workspace, he was hoping to find something special.
“We knew the building needed to be something really unique, and we definitely didn’t want just another cookie cutter office building filled with glass boxes,” says David.
It may have taken several years, but once he inspected the heritage premises in Crows Nest that now house COG work + space, he knew he’d found the perfect location.
The building at 5 Alexander Street is more than 100 years old. From a Protestant Hall in the 1910s, to a dance school and a book depository, it made its mark in the local community, before becoming a part of history. In December 1974, the first public FM broadcast in Australia was transmitted by 2MBS-FM from an office on the second floor.
David and his team wanted to pay homage to the iconic building’s past by keeping as many original features as possible, yet also making the space modern and equipped with the latest technology.
“Each of the floors is a little bit different, sometimes during the construction we weren’t sure what we would find,” recalls David. “There is a lovely patchwork of old floorboards, exposed brickwork and 4-metre-high ceilings that give you a real feeling of space in those suites.”
Those with renovation experience will appreciate the work that went into the building when they hear that the transformation took two years in total. But what a stunning transformation it is.
“Our vision was to create a range of boutique spaces, a hybrid of the best bits of a serviced office and a co-working space, where members could work in a luxurious, generously proportioned environment,” says David.
As a result, COG work+space can now offer several different options for members. The new ground floor range of suites include high speed Wi-Fi, printing and scanning, various bookable meeting rooms, a spacious kitchen and breakout space. There are generously proportioned private offices for 1, 2, or 3 people, featuring 4m high ceilings. Also available are dedicated desks which include a lockable pedestal or locker.
“Crows Nest is also the ideal location to work from,” adds David. “It has great transport links to both the lower and upper North Shore as well as being just a quick trip into the city; and this will get even better once the Metro is completed. It also has a great choice of places to grab a quick lunch or a drink after work.”
It has already proved popular with local businesses and workers seeking an office space with a difference. The suites on Level 2 are fully leased until well into 2022.
“We know of nothing comparable in the area. No one is building offices like this anymore,” says David. “We are also excited that our newest space is carbon neutral and generates all its energy needs from 92 roof mounted solar panels during the day. Some of the excess power is stored in a battery that we use when the sun goes down, and the rest is sold back to the grid.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has made people reassess their work life balance, with many now moving away from long commutes to working remotely. David says this has been reflected in the numbers of people using the Crows Nest location.
“COG work+space provides a great option for smaller teams to work collaboratively closer to home. Members can book a meeting room to host meetings with visiting colleagues to keep up in person connections.”
The passion David and his team have for the business as part of the local community is clear.
“We are really proud of the transformation of the building. With care and attention, it has been re-imagined and lovingly restored with a result which provides a link to the past and connects with the future. It’s satisfying to know it has been given a new life and potentially can be part of the streetscape for another 100 years.”