NYC’s common spaces lure tech firms from offices

As commercial rents in technology firm heavy Midtown South rise, smaller tech firms and start-ups are turning to communal work spaces or, in some cases, are eschewing office space altogether. According to the Wall Street Journal, each Thursday in August tech workers from a diverse set of companies will meet at picnic tables under the Manhattan Bridge to program, design and enjoy a beer. This non-traditional office space and free WiFi are provided by the office-sharing company Loosecubes and the Dumbo Improvement District in order to give fledgling tech firms a rent-free space to spread their wings.

“We think of our customers a lot as local nomads,” Campbell McKellar, Loosecubes’ founder, said. Many young tech workers freelance or work for companies that cannot or do not want to be tied down to pricy office space; and as free WiFi is increasing available throughout city parks the trend is likely to grow. Yet, weather does not always permit outdoor computer work; some tech firms are instead sharing traditional office space or meeting in hotels lobbies – like the Flatiron District’s Ace Hotel – and restaurants.

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“Community is really the most important thing,” Micah Kotch, New York University director of incubator initiatives, said. “If you can provide a community for people that really enriches their experience and allows them to get things done, you’re providing a real value.”  [WSJ]Christopher Cameron