When I was in grad school, I always tried to get out of doing work in the library – it was too quiet, too sterile, and I couldn’t even bring a snack! Instead, I would schedule meetings at local coffee shops and do my readings in parks – basically, you could always find me traipsing around the Village trying to find WiFi access wherever I went. Nevertheless, none of these places were very conducive for my work. I would have to scream over espresso machines, my laptop would quickly lose power in the park or I just couldn’t see my screen with the glare casting down on my computer, and then the final straw – my favorite cafes began setting time limits for their high demand tables. I knew there had to be a better way.
Unfortunately for me (but luckily for you!), I didn’t know there was another way to work until a few months ago. Coworking spaces have been popping up around the world to meet this exact need. This new(ish) concept offers flexible and affordable workspace while creating a community of workers who otherwise work in isolation, like the work-from-home freelancer, the telecommuter and the entrepreneur who has a new idea for a project – in other words, the type of people, who, like me, don’t want to work in a library (or a cubicle, for that matter)!
So when we at the Downtown Alliance starting to think about new and innovative programming we could implement to support small businesses, I stumbled upon this whole coworking thing and I was totally excited. From this, the Hive at 55 was a born – a community where like-minded people can work, socialize, share ideas and skills and learn.
Mayor Bloomberg announced his support of the Hive at 55 coworking space by including it in his MediaNYC 2020 plan, a program of eight initiatives to strengthen the media industry. Additionally, the New York City Economic Development Corporation has made a commitment to help support the Hive.
Following the Mayor’s announcement of the Hive, we have been moving full speed ahead to get the space up and running. Our lease at 55 Broad St. was just signed at the beginning of this month. 55 Broad, the New York Information Technology Center, will be a huge asset to the Hive as one of the leading technology buildings in New York City with advanced technology amenities plus the benefit of being in close proximity to technology firms within the building. The Hive is large and open and will have room for more than 30 individual coworkers plus three anchor tenants, Plus, the Hive has room to host community events, workshops, and classes – opportunities for Hive members and the local community to share and exchange ideas, spark innovation and improve skills.
Construction on the space will begin in the next few weeks and we are aiming for an early November opening. In the meantime, I will use this blog to chronicle all the design, construction, and nitty-gritty details involved in constructing, opening, and marketing what is an entirely new and exciting business for the Downtown Alliance!
If you can’t wait for my next blog post to hear about our progress at the Hive, follow us on Twitter (twitter/hiveat55), or become a fan on Facebook for constant updates and pictures. And, a Web site with more information is coming soon.