Happy anniversary to us! We first opened our doors eight years ago on Beacon’s charming Main Street. A then (May 2009) and now comparison. And a hint at what’s to come.
There were only a handful of coworking spaces in NYC and just a couple hundred worldwide.
And almost all were in major Western cities. By the end of this year (2017), nearly 1.2 million people worldwide will have worked in one of nearly 14,000 spaces in dozens of countries.
Those numbers have more or less doubled every year since the movement began in 2005 in a loft in San Francisco. (Moore’s law, anyone?!)
You could probably count on one hand the spaces in small communities like Beacon.
The percentage today is still tiny.
Speakin’ of Beacon, the vacancy rate on Main St was nearing 40%.
This was the depths of the recession, after all. Helping catalyze energy in Beacon, and Main St. in particular, was one reason I decided to take a risk on this new-fangled idea.
Today the vacancy rate in Beacon citywide is an unsustainable 2% (meaning: it’s tough to find housing and commercial space, driving up rents and driving out people). The pendulum has swung to an unhealthy extreme.
We had just inaugurated an African-American president.
With a strange, Muslim-sounding name. Who ran on a positive platform teeming with hope. The pendulum has swung to an unhealthy extreme.
The Vision Continues
What hasn’t changed over these eight years is our vision to help catalyze a vibrant, sustainable, locally rooted and human scale community. We’ve engaged thousands of Hudson Valley denizens, up and down the river:
- Opened multiple locations, swarming new hives in Kingston (twice!), Albany (still going strong!) and Peekskill (short-lived).
- Fostered a rich sense of community for hundreds of members from diverse backgrounds.
- Hosted or produced hundreds of programs and events to inspire, educate and bond members and non-members alike.
We’re in the midst of a strategic process to more deeply actualize that vision and stretch our mission to inspire and facilitate new thinking and action to address community issues and economic development in a sustainable way that meets the needs of all our citizens.
I hope you’ll engage with us as we continue on this journey.