A coworking company based in Salt Lake City, Kiln, has acquired the coastal San Diego coworking company BLOC in partnership Midtown National Group, based in Solana Beach.
Kiln CEO and Co-founder Arian Lewis declined to say how much they paid for BLOC, but he said the deal was a quick way for Kiln to enter the San Diego County market with plans to further expand its operations in San Diego and Southern California.
“The hardest place to find real estate in San Diego is along the (Route) 101,” Lewis said. “This is a way for us to quickly be in the market and build out locations.”
Founded in 2014 by Brendan Foote and Curtis Clave, BLOC has coworking offices in Solana Beach, Leucadia, and Carlsbad Village with about 250 members, according to Foote.
The three offices are about 90% occupied, Foote said.
“What Brendan and Curtis built is pretty special. They have a really nice network of good locations, all three with good access to the beach and downtown in Solana Beach,” Lewis said. “What’s so awesome about BLOC is it gives us a foundation upon which we can build a larger operation.”
Lewis said that Kiln has about 3,000 members and 350 businesses that use its coworking offices in Salt Lake City, Park City, and Lehi, Utah, Boulder, Colorado, and Meridian, Idaho.
New offices are expected to open within the next 18 months in Provo, St. George, Utah, Denver and Phoenix.
Kiln will take over operations in BLOC’s three San Diego County offices Sept. 1.
Lewis said the company expects to soon open a coworking operation in inland San Diego County, although he said it was premature to say where.
“We honestly were not looking to sell BLOC,” Clave said, but he said BLOC “integrates perfectly” with Kiln.
Foote said the two companies share a philosophy of becoming integral parts of the communities that they serve.
“The coworking spaces that are more connected and intertwined in their neighborhoods they’re in, they are going to be more successful,” Foote said.
Lewis said that Kiln will work with a separate Carlsbad development company owned by Foote and Clave, Fabrics Investments, in developing new coworking locations.
“They’re especially good at reuse and repurposing industrial or old retail real estate,” Lewis said.
“The way they approach their development is the way we approach our growth,” Lewis said, adding that Kiln is also working with other developers and property owners in San Diego and elsewhere in Southern California.
According to the website Zippia.com, as of July there were 6,200 coworking spaces in the U.S. used by 933,000 people.
“All the major analysts, CBRE, JLL, Savills, Newmark, all these major real estate groups are predicting a significant rise in demand with some predicting that by 2030, 30% of office will be coworking,” Lewis said.
“It’s a big shift and it really is quite logical if you look at the way companies are using office and how challenging it is to keep up with the trends in office,” he added. “Just flexibility in general is at a premium because people want an ability to flex in and out of space as the needs of their business change.”
Lewis said that he and Kiln’s co-founder, Leigh Radford, have been operating co-working offices for more than decade, starting in London and opening the first Kiln coworking spaces in Salt Lake City in 2018.
Since then, the profile of who uses coworking space has shifted from predominantly individuals to companies, Lewis said.
“Companies even with teams of up to 200 are getting little base camp offices,” Lewis said.
Moving into San Diego County “was really a clear lifestyle fit for us,” Lewis said. “We want to be where founders, entrepreneurs and other professionals are building businesses along with a good quality of life. There’s kind of no better place than San Diego to see that happening. San Diego is really the epitome of a great quality of life along with really impressive entrepreneurship both in the world of technology and biotech.”
Headquarters: Salt Lake City, UT.
CEO and Co-founder: Arian Lewis
Creative Director and Co-founder: Leigh Radford
Business: Coworking/flex space company
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 855-670-2810
Notable: Kiln’s founders have designed, built and operated flex-office communities since 2010 in cities such as Tel Aviv, Cape Town, Mumbai, New York and London.