THE HUB — A new coworking space coming to the South Bronx aims to unite professionals ranging from architects to immigration lawyers and help prevent young entrepreneurs from leaving the borough.
"Everyone’s goal is to go to Manhattan or Williamsburg because it’s trendy. The environment there seeks to promote small business growth," said Michael Brady, executive director of the Hub 3rd Avenue Business Improvement District. "And I think that that’s what this is doing for The Bronx. This is giving Bronxites a place to stay in The Bronx that’s affordable."
The space is called BronxCoworks, and it is located in the heart of The Hub on the third floor of 2825 Third Ave., at East 148th Street.
"It’s basically something that you would see in Manhattan, and we have it here," said Roger Saad, operating manager of the project.
Saad agreed that part of the goal for BronxCoworks was to entice young businessmen and women to stay in the borough, but he stressed that there were no age restrictions on who could use the space.
"It's not only for one generation. It’s all-inclusive," he said.
The grand opening of BronxCoworks will take place on April 6, and Saad said he has received interest so far from workers including an architect and a husband and wife painting duo.
The space already has an anchor tenant in the Hub 3rd Avenue BID, and Brady said he was a huge supporter of the coworking concept.
He maintained that spaces like BronxCoworks would help businesses in the South Bronx build on each other, describing it as a place "where people can bounce ideas off of each other and grow their business network."
All tenants will have to pay a $35 annual membership fee for using the space, and monthly rents range from $250 for a floating desk area to $2,200 for a large office space, according to Saad.
Saad is also a partner in the department store At Home on the lower level of the building, and he said his familiarity with The Hub helped convince him that it would make an ideal spot for a coworking facility, given how hard it can currently be for local small businesses to launch.
"It’s difficult for small businesses to start up and rent office space without jumping through a lot of hoops," he said, "and this is a very easy way to get started and grow your business."
Although he maintains that The Bronx is "already a great place," he aims to make it a more business friendly environment with BronxCoworks.
Brady said that the project was already starting to achieve this goal.
"I think entrepreneurs feel like they have to join the WeWork on Wall Street or wherever to grow their business, and I think that BronxCoworks is proving that that is not the case," he said. "People can be from The Bronx and grow their businesses in The Bronx.”