From the very beginning, I knew that finding the right space for the Hive was critical to its success. The space needed to be compelling – after all, freelancers and independent workers always have the option of working somewhere else. So with this in mind, we set out to find space in the Lower Manhattan market.
Initially we thought we wanted a 3,000 square foot sublet, possibly for a three-year lease, so I began to reach out to the brokerage community and set up times to see spaces. Now, I should tell you, I have no professional experience in leasing space. Having moved three times in 5 years, the only thing I know how to do is search for rental apartments across New York City on Craigslist– and I find even that stressful!
I quickly realized that telling a broker our size and timing requirements was not enough. The concept of coworking needed to be explained – we needed a space that was open so coworkers could work together, rather than in cubicles or small offices. Ideally we wanted the space to be bright and spacious, with lots of windows and high ceilings. I craved a space that had a lofty – open feeling.
As I made brokers take me all over the one square mile of Lower Manhattan, I was becoming discouraged, thinking my ideal space may just not be out there. But then, I was taken to see a space on the 13th floor of 55 Broad. The space was empty, ready for immediate move-in. At over 4,500 square feet, the space was larger than what we were looking for. It was open with windows lining one entire wall and even had an exposed ceiling! The second I walked in, I knew this was it. This had to be the Hive’s home.
I took several trips back to the space with colleagues to get their opinions. With each new visitor, I could tell they felt the same way I did. The Hive finally felt real, it was no longer an idea on a piece of paper, but a place where I could see coworkers working and collaborating.
Negotiations for the space moved forward quickly, and before we knew it our lease was signed and our new coworking space had become a reality. Of course there was still so much more to be done, but for that moment, at least, I took a breath.