June 25, 2020

First look: Excitement builds as Spark KC nears summer coworking debut at Two Light

As Kyla Bradley closed the door to a 22-person suite within the new Spark Kansas City coworking space, the sound of ongoing construction on the first two floors of Two Light nearly vanished.

“It’s not sound-proofed in here,” she said with a smile, noting a still-dramatic reduction in noise within the customizable, three-room office setting — the largest offering in the 15,000-square-foot workspace. “But these are private offices.”

Workers nearby were busy finishing the concrete floors, hanging drywall and readying the long-awaited project from the Cordish Companies — the Baltimore-based developer behind Kansas City’s Power & Light District and the Two Light luxury apartments — for an August debut.

Two Light opened a couple of years ago, so we kind of lost a little bit of excitement with that, because I think ideally we would’ve liked to be open sooner,” said Bradley, community manager for Spark KC. “But we really wanted to make sure the design and construction were right for the space we wanted. We’ve been making changes just within the past couple weeks. It’s important for the Cordish Companies to get it right.”

“We really wanted the design to be beautiful and flawless, and also flow seamlessly into Two Light,” Bradley continued, noting Spark KC shares the same designer — Baltimore-based Rebecca Jones of RD Jones + Associates — as the luxury apartment complex on the floors above it.

Collaboration with privacy

Evolving Spark’s initial vision of the Kansas City space as a “co-living” community, the workspace is available for Two Light members who also want a Spark Kansas City membership, Bradley said — but 1475 Walnut St. is also expected to draw professionals from downtown and across the city.

“You have quick access to the KC Streetcar once you’re here — downtown living isn’t far away; so it’s very walkable,” she said from a corner office overlooking the intersection of Truman Road and Walnut Street. “And you’re just a block away from what’s considered the Crossroads.”

Spark KC also has de-emphasized the idea of shared workspaces in the era of COVID-19, Bradley said, opting instead for safer, more secure shared amenities.

“We have more private offices than community spaces, so you have the shared feel in more of the kitchen, lounge and amenity areas,” she said.

In addition to private spaces — ranging from single offices to the second-floor, 22-person premier suite overlooking one of the shared lounges with a double-sided fireplace — Spark KC offers dedicated, open-air desk space, as well as a limited number of hot desk or drop-in options, Bradley said, noting the Kansas City location has a capacity for about 142 individuals.

“The desks are all a very clean, very sleek design,” she added.

While most of the dedicated and private office spaces are on the second floor, the ground floor features more of the shared amenities like a mothers room, kitchen and small event space for happy hours and general relaxation.

Brewed in community

Wine, nitro cold brew, and local craft beers will be on tap, Bradley said with a smile.

They’re more than an expected treat within a modern-day coworking space, she added, detailing her long history working within the Cordish Companies. Bradley spent nearly 10 years on the food and beverage side of the business, coordinating marketing and sales for the restaurant, bars and nightclubs within Power & Light — where Spark KC members receive exclusive perks and discounts, she said.

“My goal is to be a connection between Spark KC members and outside resources, just like I was segue between Cordish and our vendors,” she said, referencing work that ranged from bachelorette parties to major events. “I’m that person who will get it done for them.”

A native of Belton, Missouri, and graduate from Avila University, Bradley said she’s uniquely qualified for the dual role of professional concierge and ambassador for the space.

“I’ve never left Kansas City — and I don’t really have a desire to. But I know the city and I love it,” she said. “And that will help me be an even greater resource to our members as they try to navigate the Power & Light District and other areas.”

As the opening date approaches and Spark KC books its earliest members, Bradley is fielding inquiries and outreach from potential members in unexpected industries, she said.

Like teachers.

“They’re like, ‘You know what? I might not be going back to my school this year because of COVID, so I’m interested in a coworking space,’” Bradley said. “Although that’s not typical for coworking, it’s interesting to see and an opportunity we would embrace. Spark is ready for whoever and whatever comes our way.”

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