(Photo by Gregoire Molle)
A man is speaking on the phone in an isolated booth. Nearby, a woman is editing audio on a computer. In a neighboring office, architects are working on an energy-efficient building project. All of them work for different companies, but they work on the same floor. A classic coworking tableau.
Managed by the Brooklyn Creative League (BCL), the third and first floors at 540 President St. have been at capacity for four years. About 200 people rent a desk at the Gowanus space, so now — to keep up with demand — BCL is expanding.
CEO and cofounder Neil Carlson says that within two weeks, BCL will be able to host 40 to 50 more people in a new office being built on the first floor.
Right now, the new space is still in the middle of construction. On the third floor, BCL members can already use a kitchen, private offices and conference rooms. We toured the space last May.
This new office space will have new features, including soundproof booths and a room dedicated to video — Carlson even thinks they’re going to install a green screen and studio lights in that room. The construction workers are “probably a week to ten days away from getting us open,” Carlson said. “June 15 is the target date” to open the floor to the new people, Carlson said.
Carlson says that at BCL, “the main industry clusters here are design and technology, architecture,” but there are also accountants, writers, as well as people who work remotely for organizations that are based somewhere else.
Prices to rent a workspace range from $225 to $1,700 a month, depending on whether people choose to rent a part-time desk or a private office.
Working in one of BCL’s offices, Raphael Crawford-Marks is building Bonusly, a peer-to-peer platform where employees grant each other bonuses. He likes BCL because he can talk to a diverse range of people.
“Since so much of my time is immersed in the tech scene, it can be nice to talk to people who are architects, or lawyers, or filmmakers,” Crawford-Marks said.
Field & Post’s Melissa Hsiung didn’t want to work from home. Meeting people every day is “good for mental health,” she said. Rosenfeld Media Publisher Louis Rosenfeld particularly likes BCL’s “shared services,” such as printing and photocopying.
Rosenfeld’s main regret? He wished there was a place to take a nap. Alas, Neil Carlson didn’t say if that was in the expansion plans.