BY JON CRONIN
With real estate at a premium in New York City, shared workspaces have become more commonplace among new firms that can’t afford those prices. WeWork, a co-working office space concept, has helped to create a business and community for growing businesses.
WeWork opened its first shared office space in Soho in 2010 and has since opened office space across the United States and around the globe. It was started by Adam Neumann, an Israeli-American billionaire businessman, and now has 41 buildings in Manhattan, five in Brooklyn and one in Astoria. A second Queens location will open in Long Island City at 27-01 Queens Plaza North on March 1.
The Queens Plaza building will include two floors of prime office space in a neighborhood known for its industrial roots, and WeWork is utilizing western Queens’ hybrid hotbed of art and business. The neighborhood has JetBlue’s corporate headquarters, the Citigroup building in One Court Square and Silvercup Studios. The community is also a hot spot for the arts, with MoMA’s PS1, the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park in the vicinity, and the Museum of the Moving Image in nearby Astoria.
Western Queens is one of the few areas of the borough with a proliferation of transportation options—including the E, F, M, R, N, W, 7 and G trains; the Q30, Q60 and Q101 buses; and the East River Ferry—that put the entire city within reach.
WeWork has already begun to rent the space in its new location and it is almost full. The location will have free Wi-Fi; a coffee shop, snack bar, and a gym; and common spaces, similar to its other locations.
The WeWork community also offers online networking and company networking events. Each floor has a pantry for hosting networking events. The company also offers legal aid, marketing and SEO services.
The company has touted the success of its Studio Square location and noted that a majority of the businesses renting at the site have been there since opening day two years ago.
WeWork has numerous packages to accommodate the various needs of companies—for example, some may seek only one desk with a rotating membership. Rates begin at $45 per month and prices are à la carte.
“It’s just a vibrant community in Queens,” said Kacie Pluta, the company’s new member development associate. “A lot of people born and raised are passionate about building their brand in Queens. It is a blossoming area that is huge for a community of creators.”
WeWork has no current plans to expand farther into Queens, but Pluta said, “We’re constantly looking—Flushing, Jamaica, we would consider those areas.”