The Buzz Around New York's Hive@55

Back in July, New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced the Hive@55 initiative. Other real estate markets with commercial vacancies should take notice.

Hive@55 is a program which offers affordable, short-term office space for start-up companies and individual freelancers. Members can rent office space by the month, or even day and take advantage of desks, private offices, a kitchen, lounge, a conference room and even a "quiet room" for creative brainstorming. Membership to Hive@55 ranges from $25 a day to $500 per month, a very affordable alternative to market-rate office space.

Turns out this arrangement benefits everyone involved, from the individual day-renter to the city itself.

From an individual freelancer's perspective this arrangement is a welcome relief from the social and creative isolation (and occasional aggravation) caused by working at home. From a start-up perspective, shared office space is more private than the free-for-all of the local coffee shop. Start-ups also skip funding copiers, telephone systems, and other office necessities while the business grows.

Naturally, the landlords benefit, too. Short-term, even day-long, tenants sure trump vacancy (which are at a 23-year high).

The contribution of economic boost could be significant to the city, too. Hive@55 is marketed toward media professionals in an effort to diversify lower Manhattan and support individuals and small companies in the print, television, and internet media fields. Similar business incubators could be set in other, vacant commercial locations to attract specific industries, such as green-focused businesses.

The Hive@55 program is jointly overseen by Rudin Management and the city's Downtown Alliance. Check it out and be inspired. Just be forewarned, it isn't literally a man-made bee-hive.
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