The newest location at 35-37 36th Street is in Astoria’s Kaufman Arts District, right above Studio Square’s beer garden. It is WeWork’s 63rd physical location, 23 of which are in New York City. The company has offices in 24 cities and eight countries in total.
At full capacity, this particular shared office space will hold more than 700 entrepreneurs and business owners. The company owns four floors, featuring individual and team rooms, shared kitchens and even some rooms for recreational use.
Artie Minson, WeWork’s president and CEO and a Rockaway native, said he was most excited about the Astoria location opening because he spent time in the neighborhood when he was younger.
“Growing up in Queens, one of the things you really learn is the power of community,” Minson said. “Our north star has always been about the community and bringing that community way of living to the workplace.”
Minson said joining WeWork has many benefits. The company has 50,000 members worldwide, and each member has access to the global community of entrepreneurs. WeWork also has an app members can use to communicate with each other. Close to 80 percent of members end up doing business with each other.
Becoming a WeWork member also means having access to a variety of services. Minson said whether it’s banking, accounting, technology or IT, WeWork can help business owners in many different ways.
“Members can really have the ability to come to WeWork and have their full suite of needs met,” he said.
Perhaps the most important need is space, especially in an expensive real estate market like New York City. Adriana Quaranto, a WeWork member and owner of AMCONYC, an events and public relations company, said going to an affordable shared office space with many benefits like healthcare and complimentary coffee and teas are important.
“Being able to have all of that in one place for such a low cost is a really big deal,” the Florida native said. “Let’s say you go and get your own office in the city and it’s going to cost you at least $3,000 a month. At WeWork, you can get a one-person office for considerably lower.”
Quaranto has worked from home for the last five years, but she said having a space like WeWork creates a community and brings a stronger business environment to Queens.
“It’s not like a corporate office where you walk into your work and go home,” she said. “You actually talk to people, you communicate with people. You’re able to network, so it’s a good working environment.”
At the March 10th grand opening, Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas said a place like WeWork benefits the community because it encourages people to stay in the neighborhood. She said because the office is in the Kaufman Arts District, a lot of young, creative artists who work in the area can take advantage of the office space.
“It really is a place where creativity meets opportunity,” Simotas said. “It’s where innovators can come, think, share space and come up with business ideas in a collaborative environment.
“It’s so important that we have supportive structures like this to foster small businesses and innovators,” she added.
For a lot of Queens residents, Simotas said, having a WeWork location in the borough can cut commute times, and people can spend that saved time with their families instead. Simotas said even if WeWork members need to go to Manhattan, it’s just a short train ride away.
Thomas Grech, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said he loves WeWork’s model of shared space. He said he would love to see the company open locations in Long Island City near the waterfront, Jamaica, where he sees an economic resurgence, and even the Rockaways.
“The Rockaways have been underserved for many, many years,” Grech said. “Having an environment like this could go a long way to help individuals start small companies and have those companies grow and prosper.”