Can a coworking space be considered a neighborhood hangout?
That’s the vibe Bond Collective, the coworking company formerly known as Coworkrs, has aimed for as it has expanded into Brooklyn. This week the company announced that it raised $50 million and plans to open a location in Philadelphia, its first location outside of the New York City area.
Bond Collective is also opening a new location closer to home, in Bushwick, as we reported last summer in our story about the company’s neighborhood-specific strategy for its location in Gowanus. It’s taking a similar approach with the Bushwick location, which is currently being renovated and will open next spring.
Technical.ly spoke with CEO Shlomo Silber, who picked up the neighborhood-oriented theme of our last discussion with him. Namely, he emphasized the planned amenities of the location, which will include a roof deck, a recording studio, a yoga studio and an event space. The space, which Silber described as a “structural glass box,” was designed jointly by Christian Lahoude Studio and Elide Grabowski, Bond Collective’s design director.
Notably, Bond Collective is leasing the entire building at 839 Broadway, rather than just a few floors. That enabled the company to get more creative with designing the space, Silber told Technical.ly.
“It’s a really unique location for us,” he said. “It will kind of be like a flagship Bushwick stop.”
Indeed, Silber is fully aware of the neighborhood’s transformation. In addition to serving as the base for tech companies such as Carto and ConsenSys, it’s home to a vibrant community of artists, as well as galleries such as Transfer. He said that Bond Collective plans to immerse itself in the thick of that activity. Features such as the recording studio, for instance, could prove useful to many of the area’s creatives.
The question of bridging new developments with established communities is a pressing and pointed one in Brooklyn these days. As much as the local tech community has positioned itself in contrast to the “disruptors” of Silicon Valley, it hasn’t been immune to critique, as demonstrated by last year’s protests outside the Make It In Brooklyn pitch contest.
Bushwick, in particular, has seen a homegrown movement of activists aiming to ensure that the neighborhood’s transformation benefits all its residents, as demonstrated through initiatives such as Bushwick Open Studios. Silber told Technical.ly that Bond Collective aims to take part in that discussion.
“We’ve invited with open arms everyone in the community who wants to be involved,” he said. “We see this as a community space for everybody.”-30-