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St. George Coworking Spot to Double its Size

By Nicholas Rizzi | January 13, 2016 3:02pm
 LaunchPads — which started in 2014 — will add more private offices and shared coworking spaces with a new expansion.
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ST. GEORGE — A Staten Island coworking space will double its size by taking over a former doctor's office.

LaunchPads, at 60 Bay St., will expand into a medical facility that is already in the same building. The space will be converted into 13 private offices — which are called pods — and add a larger shared workspace, said founder Kevin Lawrie.

"Primarily what people are asking for is some type of private space, but I didn’t want to do like your typical vanilla shared office space," said Lawrie.

"That wasn’t exactly what I got into this to try to do."

The private pods — some of which were added to the existing space after demand for them — have polycarbonate walls that let light in but minimize sound.

The spot first opened in 2014 and Lawrie focused on a large, shared office space with few private rooms. However, after a lot of workers and companies who tested out the space expressed a need for more private areas, Lawrie converted most of the space into private offices.

"People wanted a door, people wanted more element of privacy, people wanted to leave stuff in the office at night," he said.

Since the change, Lawrie said the space has been full with a waiting list, which prompted him to find another suite in the building to add more pods.

Lawrie said he already has a waiting list for people  interested in the new space, which is scheduled to open in two to three weeks.

Aside from the new pods, the expansion will add more shared office space.

"It became like a situation of the chicken and the egg," he said.

"We had this open coworking space, but people were coming in and I think because the space wasn’t full and bustling with people, that they’re hesitant to get in.

"Now it's full and people know there's a waiting list, they know we're expanding and all these things are happening and there's a momentum."

Aside from a place to work, LaunchPads offers free wireless Internet and coffee and has attracted a wide mix of tenants, from a local union to the Big Brother Big Sister program.

Since LaunchPads opened, several other coworking spaces have launched and the city put out a request for proposals to turn a former Department of Health building in St. George into a hub for media and technology.