Coworking Space to Offer Tech Haven in St. George This August

By Nicholas Rizzi on June 25, 2014 5:53pm 

ST. GEORGE — Start-ups, freelancers and remote workers on Staten Island will finally have a chance to get out of their house or the coffee shop and into a shared workspace.

A new coworking space in St. George, Launchpads, plans to open up at 60 Bay St. at the beginning of August, organizers said. The space is designed for people who want to get off their couches while working, and will offer long shared desks, standing desks, a communal conference room and free coffee and tea.

"It gets you off the couch, it gets you out of Starbucks and kind of puts you with like-minded people," said Kevin Lawrie, founder of Launchpads. "Eventually, the core benefit is going to be a community. Just having a diverse sets of skill inside that supports everyone else's initiatives in someway or another."

Launchpads will launch with a month-long "beta test" through August, where potential tenants can sign up online to have a free month at the space. Lawrie said it will help organizers work out the bugs, and also get people introduce the idea of coworking in the borough.

"You find a lot of people don't really know what ... coworking space is, so there's this large education component that needs to go along with it," he said.

"Everything's going to be free, we're just trying to get people to come here, give them a desk, and put stress on all these systems."

Aside from Launchpads, the Staten Island MakerSpace plans to expand their workshop to add a computer lab and space for coworking next month, and Lyle Foxman, head of Startup S.I., is in talks to open another coworking space at the NYC Arts Cypher.

Foxman, who's tried in the past to get a space going, said he plans to start slow with a series of meet-ups around the North Shore to try and build a community of coworkers.

"I want to do coworking events around the North Shore, could be like potluck coworking evening or a Sunday brunch coworking," Foxman said. "It's really more of a community environment and not just a place to have a desk."

Lawrie, who also runs his startup INBOX25 out of the building, agrees and hopes to attract workers from different fields, offer workshops, and create a collaborative community in the space.

While Staten Island doesn't have as large of a tech sector as other parts in the city, Lawrie thinks eventually spaces like his could help change that, and wants to eventually set up a seed fund for startups in the borough.

"There's 500,000 people on this island, you cannot tell me that there aren't already people who are tech oriented that don't have ideas or don't already have a venture in the works," Lawrie said. "Without having anything on this island to try to perpetuate that or support that, who knows?"

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