After four years, the downtown coworking space The Grove is closing down. Officing at 501 Elm St. in the West End, The Grove served as a space for small- to medium-sized businesses, social innovators, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. The business will be closing its doors August 31.
"Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside of our control, we’ve found ourselves in a situation that simply cannot be remedied," the company says in a statement. "We've spent the last year exploring all of our options and found that our West End location is simply not sustainable."
The Grove CEO Justin Nygren hints that the issue was landlord-related; the building was acquired by Goff Capital in late 2015. At least three other tenants, including Paperlyte Films, have left the building in the past year.
"Without going into too much detail, the closure was out of our control," Nygren says. "We found ourselves in a situation that could not be remedied after the sale of our building at the end of 2015, right when we were at the top of our game. We've tried to work with the new owners and simply could not find a scenario that would work for both parties. I feel good knowing that we figured out a profitable model and were growing as a company, but sometimes forces outside your control make plans that change your business model. And sometimes the pivots don't work out."
Nygren doesn't fault the coworking concept, which he calls "an amazing business model that will be viable for the foreseeable future."
"It needs to be more than a real estate play in order to have the ability to retain members and grow," he says. "There needs to be a stronger focus on culture and genuine connections and that can only happen with highly intentional programming."
The Grove's plan is to launch a different kind of business, focused on the programming they've developed over the last few years. "Whether through consulting, workshops, accelerators, or cohort programming, we will continue to support and lead the larger conversation of positive social change in the world," the company's statement says.