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Dean Street Coworking Space Hopes to Build Community in Cubicles

 A fashion industry consultant converted a Crown Heights building into a coworking space on Dean Street.
Coworking Space on Dean Street
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CROWN HEIGHTS — A cozy coworking space in Crown Heights is seeking seven tenants interested in finding office buddies and a sense of community, not just a place to park their laptops.

Unlike other coworking offices, Dean Machine at 1037 Dean St. will not have a rotating list of members who rent space by the hour or day, owner Sam Strauss-Malcolm said. Instead, tenants will rent a cubicle for at least six months at a time, giving them time to get to know each other.

“As a freelancer, you lose your office coworkers and you lose that creative, dynamic scenario that you get when you work in-house,” said Strauss-Malcolm, 31, a consulting fashion designer.

“So, I thought I could create that for myself and also provide it to other people who might be looking for the same thing.”

For $425 a month, tenants will get a cubicle in the 800-square-foot office on the first floor of the two-story brick building on Dean Street just west of Franklin Avenue.

The rent includes a communal conference room, a lounge area, a kitchenette and a 1,000-square-foot patio and garden, which Strauss-Malcolm hopes to convert into a covered greenhouse-like space. Members get 24-hour access, Wi-Fi and all the coffee they can drink.

Strauss-Malcolm bought the Dean Machine space four years ago and slowly renovated it from being a "junkyard." He carved an apartment for himself upstairs and created the office below.

For the design-minded, each cubicle is wrapped in the restored remnants of the building’s original tin ceiling. Each desk is made from galvanized steel that Strauss-Malcolm found in a scrap yard on Staten Island. The conference room’s glass walls are made from reclaimed sash windows Strauss-Malcolm found in Maine, his home state.

He said he hopes the carefully designed space will attract a wide variety of people.

“It’s [about] trying to find people that seem interesting, that seem like they might bring something to the space,” he said. “Maybe it sounds a little weird, but kind of like when you’re looking for a roommate on Craigslist and you’re meeting people, you don’t necessarily want to have the roommate that’s just going to rent the room, never talk to you, close the door and ignore you.”

Strauss-Malcolm is holding an open house at 1037 Dean St. on Friday, June 13 from 5 to 8 p.m. He will also be available for showings over the weekend and can be contacted by email through his website.