1. Clearwater

Clearwater gave this office space project $600,000 in 2017. How is it doing?

The Ring Room, the main conference from at The Ring Workspaces which can host 50 people. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
The Ring Room, the main conference from at The Ring Workspaces which can host 50 people. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
Published May 23

CLEARWATER — The Ring in downtown Clearwater doesn't much resemble an office space.

That's the idea.

Daniels Ikajevs, a real estate developer who owns several properties downtown, and his team set out in 2016 to create the world's healthiest workspace. About $2 million later — including $600,000 from the city of Clearwater — The Ring Workspaces LLC, 18,000 square feet of office and coworking space, is the result.

To tour the space, on the third floor of One Clearwater Tower, 600 Cleveland St., is to be transported to a place with a modern sheen that borders on satire. Except there is no punchline. Developing a healthy workplace is serious business. Ikajevs, his wife, Simee Adhikari, and his project manager, Janelle Branch, were meticulous in their planning.

Walls are transparent, giving every office a view of the outside world. Individual office spaces have no trash cans, forcing workers to get up and walk periodically to the communal garbage. But not even the trash bags there are made from plastic. No single-use plastics are allowed in The Ring.

It's impossible to work at cafeteria tables decorated with potted plants suspended by magnets, because the magnets would turn off a laptop. Recycled materials are used wherever possible: one room is lined with stylishly repurposed newspaper.

"We want to revolutionize how people feel inside a space," Ikajevs said from inside the conference room that doubles as a regulation-sized table tennis facility.

Read more: Developer says his hub of shared workspace could help spark downtown Clearwater

Coworking is a growing regional and worldwide trend, according to industry research. The idea is to provide office space for those who work nominally from home, but who don't want to work from the place they live.

The Ring aims to take that idea one step further, incorporating wellness into the equation. It offers four membership levels. The least expensive level, $45 per month, grants members a mailbox and the ability to rent out conference rooms. The most expensive level, $370 per month, gives a member a private office.

Branch said the space, which opened in April, is already home to 72 individuals from 36 different companies.

Among the groups to use The Ring is the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, which holds its monthly board meetings in its large conference room.

"Projects like these dramatically lift the capacity of business in Clearwater to grow," wrote Mike Sutton, the Chamber's Board Chair, in an email.

Ikajevs first came to the Tampa Bay area from his native Latvia for college in 1999. After he graduated, he started a career in real estate. He bounced around the area as he grew his portfolio, living in St. Pete Beach and Palm Harbor before eventually settling in Clearwater.

The Ring is named after its multimedia space shaped like a boxing ring. In a past life, Ikajevs was a fighter.

Inside and outside of the titular ring, the space is quality controlled to the nth degree. Every morning, the dozens of assigned chairs in the Contender's Club space are perfectly realigned. Sensors have been installed on the customizable lights in the office spaces so The Ring can track how users prefer to have their spaces lit.

Every individual desk can be converted to a standing workspace with the push of a button. Any member is free to grab sleep — in 20-minute-or-fewer increments — in The Ring's futuristic-looking sleep pod. (It sort of looks like a dentist's chair with a large white sphere around where the head rests.)

Ikajevs constantly tracks certain wellness metrics. A few taps on his phone, and he's able to pull up the office's room temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels. Several members of The Ring are also participating in a Harvard University study that aims to track the effect of the workplace on health.

In 2017, Clearwater Community Redevelopment Agency voted 3-1 to give $600,000 to the project. Ikajevs said that money helped make The Ring viable. He hopes to give the city a return on its investment first by giving Clearwater a downtown working hub, then by scaling the workplace wellness concept nationwide.

Amanda Thompson, the director of the agency, said she's encouraged by The Ring's progress since the city grant was awarded.

"Initial results are promising," Thompson said. "It's a beautiful space."

This article has been changed to reflect the following correction: The Ring project cost $2 million in total, including $600,000 from the city of Clearwater. Benefits of the $45 monthly membership do not include access to the coworking space. An earlier version incorrectly listed the total cost and the membership benefits.

Contact Kirby Wilson at or (727) 893-8793. Follow @kirbywtweets.


  1. Tech Data CEO Rich Hume (left) shares a moment with his predecessor, Bob Dutkowsky, during a send-off celebration for Dutkowsky on June 7, 2018 at the company's 
 headquarters in Largo. At the time, Tech Data had already received the first in what would become a series of purchase offers from New York-based private equity giant Apollo Global Management. Along the way, Dutkowsky would play a key role in negotiations with Apollo. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times (2018)
    Apollo Global Management has been trying to buy Tech Data for a year and a half. Along the way, four other companies were interested, too. Two made offers.
  2. Pinellas County Commission chairwoman Karen Seel said a Tampa economic development group's recent decision to put "Tampa Bay" into its name "does great harm to the progress we have made on regional collaboration."
    But in Tampa, the chief executive officer of the nonprofit, government-supported economic development group is giving no sign of backing off the new name.
  3. Yankee pitcher CC Sabathia, who played 19 seasons before injuries ended his career this fall, greets children attending the Yankees holiday concert at the Straz Center in Tampa on Thursday. Sabathia was joined by his wife Amber, right. [New York Yankees]
    Long-time host and retired news anchor John Wilson passed the torch this year to a new emcee, his son Mark Wilson.
  4. A rendering of what Clearwater's downtown waterfront will look like once Imagine Clearwater's plans come to fruition. The mock-up is oriented so the top is the western waterfront and the bottom is the the eastern waterfront. In the southwest, a lake is planned underneath the Memorial Causeway. A shaded bluff walk will run along the waterfront's eastern edge, and in the middle of the complex, Clearwater plans a 4,000-seat covered concert venue. To the north, what is now Coachman Park will be re-imagined as a new garden. [Stantec via the City of Clearwater]
    Here’s one thing: People are worried about parking.
  5. Clearwater police Maj. David Dalton stands with Yael Hershfield, deputy director of the Anti-Defamation League's Florida region, after receiving the league's law enforcement award Tuesday in Palm Beach. The organization recognized Dalton for “his commitment to ensuring that law enforcement personnel adhere to the highest standards of policing while treating all citizens fairly and with respect," according to a news release. [Courtesy of David Dalton] [Courtesy of David Dalton]
    Clearwater Maj. David Dalton received the Anti-Defamation League’s law enforcement award for “his commitment to ensuring that law enforcement personnel adhere to the highest standards of policing...
  6. All 13 candidates running for three Clearwater City Council seats participated in a forum at St. Petersburg College Clearwater library on Dec. 7. [TRACEY MCMANUS  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    With nine candidates running for two council seats and four vying for mayor, the season’s first forum served as an introduction.
  7. DIRK SHADD   |   Times
The closed sign hangs on the entrance of the tract at Oldsmar BMX, 3120 Tampa Road, in Oldsmar on Friday, May 3, 2019. The world famous BMX track in Oldsmar shut down suddenly earlier this year. The city cited safety concerns after a routine building inspection, and a subsequent report confirmed that serious structural issues in the track's walls exist. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The track remains closed indefinitely.
  8. Cars pack Interstate 275 south just past downtown Tampa. Downtown Tampa is the loudest neighborhood in the Tampa metropolitan area, which is the loudest metro in the nation, according to a Zillow analysis based on noise-mapping data collected in urban and rural areas nationwide by the National Park Service. (Times (2010) [Times (2010)]
    The online real estate company used sound-mapping information collected by the National Park Service (yes, really) to compile its noisiest metros ranking.
  9. Prospective rivals to Apollo Global Management had until 11:59 p.m. Monday to submit a competing bid for Tech Data during what is known as a "go-shop" period. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Prospective bidders had until 11:59 p.m. Monday to submit competing offers for Tech Data during what is known as a “go-shop” period.
  10. Largo police are looking for a man accused of sexually battering and robbing a woman inside a massage business on E Bay Drive on Dec. 8. [Largo Police Department]
    The incident took place on Sunday and police are searching for a suspect.