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Although Tradecraft Industries founder Bryce Ballew drew inspiration from techie co-working haven Galvanize, the members of his new community for the construction industry are different than your typical MacBook-toting, coffeeshop-frequenting digital nomad. “There are probably no skinny jeans or lattes,” the 34-year-old laughs. “The unifying factor with everyone in our space is that they’re craftsmen at what they do, and they like working around like-minded people.”
Bringing the 19,000-square-foot facility north of Denver from conception to its official opening last week was a passion project for Ballew, and a family affair. He and his brother, Kyle—who works for real estate development firm Live4ward Ventures—both studied construction management at Colorado State University, but this was the first time they collaborated on a large scale. Once fully built out, Tradecraft will offer around 20 private offices (10 have been claimed so far) and space for another 150-some members on top of the 53 that have already signed on.
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Co-working for an industry that deals in steel beams and moving dirt may seem less intuitive than a community for app developers and coders who live and work in the cloud, but Ballew says construction’s team-oriented culture—”You’re only as strong as the crew you assemble for each project,” Ballew says—actually makes it perfect for the shared-space model, with a few tweaks. Ballew addressed contractors’ need for large, secure, convenient storage with rentable shipping containers, accessible 24 hours a day, built into the building’s exterior. In addition to more traditional conference rooms, private estimating rooms are available to tenants for confidential conversations when bidding for projects. And small-business owners, some who otherwise work out of their homes, appreciate the option of having a Denver mailing address that’s not a P.O. box.
The overall look of the space is gritty-industrial but sophisticated, with careful consideration of the way raw materials are integrated. It’s a professional, hardworking aesthetic Ballew hopes is what his contractor tenants would dream up for themselves. “We don’t have pingpong tables or foosball,” Ballew says. “It’s a fun place to work—but it’s designed for work.”