Impact Hub is shutting down its Kensington location and it's not that surprising - Technical.ly Philly

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Sep. 2, 2015 2:33 pm

Impact Hub is shutting down its Kensington location and it’s not that surprising

But Impact Hub Philly, a local chapter of an international network of socially-minded coworking spaces, will continue to exist: they're looking for a new space downtown.
The community at Impact Hub.

The community at Impact Hub.

(Photo by Ben Palitz)

Updated with comment from NextFab founder Evan Malone. (9/2/15, 4:29 p.m.)

Impact Hub, the socially-minded coworking and event space in a massive Kensington building, is shutting its present location down due to “considerable financial losses,” according to an email executive director Dominique Aubry sent to members today.

“Based on our current capacity and expenses, at this time we cannot sustain a co-working business at 1227 N 4th.,” the letter reads.

Read the letter in full on Philly Mag.

But Impact Hub Philly, a local chapter of an international network of socially-minded coworking spaces, will continue to exist: they’re looking for a new space downtown, Aubry told us. She plans to have the space’s next steps figured out by October.

“We are happy to connect with folks who have ideas or thoughts on space opportunities,” she emailed to us.

Is news of the closing surprising? Not entirely.

It was a big space to fill in a neighborhood that isn’t centrally located — and Impact Hub wasn’t originally supposed to fill it. They inherited the space when 3rd Ward abruptly shut down two summers ago. Impact Hub had planned on running a coworking space on one floor when 3rd Ward suddenly imploded. Real estate developer Paul Maiello gave Impact Hub “a very good deal,” Impact Hub local point person Jeff Shiau told us in the spring of 2014.

When we spoke to Aubry last December, she said all the offices were occupied and the coworking space was one-third full. Among its anchor tenants were digital agency Here’s My Chance, agency Teal Orbit and venture firm GoodCompany Group. But the space was so big that even at that capacity, it often felt empty and cold among the high ceilings and exposed stone walls. Startups in the city’s FastFWD accelerator had office space in Impact Hub but they, too, left a void when the program ended.

Aubry, who was appointed as executive director of the space less than a year ago, had been trying different ways to get people through the doors of the three-floor, 27,000-square-foot space sustainable, like offering free space for social entrepreneurs one month and free coworking every Wednesday, as well as hosting events like a summer maker market and working with makerspace NextFab to open a second NextFab location on Impact Hub’s first floor last winter.

NextFab will continue to operate in the space, said founder Evan Malone.

“We have a very positive relationship with both Impact Hub and the building owner, so we are confident that NextFab’s operations at 1227 N. 4th Street will continue without disruption,” he wrote in an email. “We’ve really enjoyed our relationship with Impact Hub and I regret that we will not have the chance to fully realize the potential benefits of our two organizations being co-located.”

Meanwhile, NYC coworking giant WeWork plans to arrive in Northern Liberties with an even bigger coworking space sometime in 2016.

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