By Tara Kyle
DNA info Reporter/Producer
FINANCIAL DISTRICT — The makeshift office spaces of your average media and technology freelancer are familiar to many New Yorkers — the couch, the coffee shop, the library and that other coffee shop too.
But since December, Hive at 55, an initiative of the Alliance for Downtown New York, has provided a lower Manhattan gathering place for industry entrepreneurs, consultants and freelancers.
On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped by to offer his support for the innovative space.
“We recognize that freelancers are vital to many of our signature industries,” Bloomberg said, citing new media, advertising, publishing, fashion and social media. “We’re doing more than ever to help entrepreneurs, who provide the heartbeat of our economy and will lead us to recovery."
The 4,000 square-foot space, at 55 Broad St., houses around 40 freelancers at a time. It’s a different crowd each day because members pay rates according to their needs: $25 per day, $50 for three visits per month, $200 for 12 visits, $300 for full monthly access during business hours, or 24/7 access for $500 a month.
Workers at the facility have access to WiFi, a fax machine, printer and copier machines, conference rooms and bike storage.
“If we didn’t have something like the Hive, we might be in Philadelphia. But this really helps us exist in New York,” said Andrew Reback, who is in charge of product and operations for Public Stuff, a technologically company which helps support networks like the 311 system, and rents an office for one day per week.
M. Elizabeth Savage, a 53-year-old Stuyvesant Town resident, originally came to the Hive while working as a consultant for an Australian publishing firm. When funding for that project ran out, she decided to continue to use the Hive as a base while she applies for non-profit jobs.
“It’s more productive because you’re in a community. When you take the isolation out of the equation, whether you’re in a job search or doing consulting and working from home on your own, it’s just healthier.”
Tony Cheng of online travel channel TripFilms said his company spent two years operating out of coffee shops before their seven- to nine-person staff moved to the Hive in December.
“There’s really nothing I miss about being a vagabond, nomad and trying to find a new place every couple days,” Cheng said. “This has been a pretty ideal situation.”
The Hive is also supported by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Rudin Management Company.