Capital Coworking

capital coworking before interior

Currently an office furniture showroom... maybe soon an actual office.

The desire for coworking space in the Capital Region has come up a few times over the last year, but the push for such a space never seemed to be able to pick up enough momentum.

Maybe until now. A space called Capital Coworking is aiming to open this September. We had a chance recently to see the space and talk with its founder.

capital coworking scott maltzman
Scott Maltzman

Scott Maltzman moved to Albany about 3.5 years ago from Brooklyn. He says he's enjoyed living here, but it's been difficult at times to connect with people. So he's starting a coworking space (naturally).

"My hope for the space is that, one, for me personally that it's my way of finding community ... and at the same time a way to give back to the community. If this is a successful endeavor, and it does foster collaboration, hopefully it becomes another tool to help create and maintain a vibrant local economy."

Coworking spaces have been popular in other cities, though as Maltzman points out with a smile, the Capital Region often seems to be about 10 years behind other places. "We're just getting martini bars." But he says he sees signs -- notably the simmering tech industry -- that this area is ready for such a space.

The space

capital coworking before 3

Maltzman's plan is to turn what's now an office furniture showroom in Colonie into Capital Coworking's space. The location isn't exactly what you might consider a prime spot -- it's part of a building tucked behind the Lia Honda car dealership on Central Ave, just over the City of Albany line. Maltzman says he would have loved to be in a walkable area, but ultimately compromised because the space has easy access to the highway, proximity to places such as the Albany Nanotech campus, and "we have a lot of parking."

When we got a tour of the space a few weeks ago, it was still operating as an office showroom -- which, actually, is probably a not-bad approximation of how it might look as a coworking space. It has high ceilings and big windows along the front let in a lot of natural light.

capital coworking before window

The space will be fitted out with pretty much what you'd expect: desks, conference rooms, internet access, a printer, and the ever-important coffee machine.

The community

"The idea of coworking is aimed at people who might be working at home and feeling isolated, who might be working at Starbucks or Panera and could use something a little more professional, less distracting, and could use access to a conference rooms and office equipment and have a real business address," Maltzman says, though he also envisions the place as an informal incubator of connections and ideas.

He says he's already gotten interest in the space from a group of includes programmers, artists, people in real estate, engineers, photographers, and a dog sitter. "I don't want people from all one type of industry -- I'm hoping there will be cross pollination."

How it would work

The price schedule for Capital Working includes a range of options -- from a one-day per month membership at $25/day, to an unlimited plan that could cost as little as about $10/day. Add-on services would include use of the space as a mail delivery address, lockable storage, and conference room rentals (beyond the allocations included in some plans). Here's a tentative price schedule.

Maltzman says compared to the cost of renting more traditional office space -- or just what a person might spend during a day working at a place like Panera -- the prices at Capital Coworking could be very competitive.

He says the big step now is collecting a critical mass of full-time "founding members" who will put down deposits. About 10 six-month commitments would be enough to get the space started. And during the initial phase, he'd be aiming to grow the space to about 30 desk spots and 15 casual work spots.

Maltzman says a website for Capital Coworking is coming soon. Until then, the best way to contact him is the Coworking in Albany Facebook page, or emailing him directly at info@capitalcoworking.com (which should be activated soon).

capital coworking before 2

capital coworking before conference
A conference room.

capital coworking before small conference
A small conference room with a video conferencing screen.

capital coworking before office
An enclosed office that could be rented to a small group.

Earlier on AOA:
+ Coworking for the Capital Region?
+ Community office space at 747 Madison

Find It

Proposed space for Capital Coworking
1 Interstate Ave
Colonie, NY 12205

Comments

This is such a great idea! While I enjoy working from home, there days where an office setting with a gentle buzz would be a welcoming option.

My company had been looking for coworking space for some time given that we couldn't afford the overhead of a dedicated office. We finally grew enough to justify a dedicated office last month.

omg. Yes please.

Love everything except the location. 1 Interstate Ave, Colonie? Srsly? The only thing withing walking distance is the parking lot.

Abby, Mike- Thanks for the enthusiasm....

Tim- Congrats. I hope we contribute to others being able to make the same leap....

Jerry- Considering the Capital Region's dependency on cars I am actually quite happy with the location.... and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.... I'm a city guy myself and would have loved to situate in a walkable downtown- or to be part of the revitalization process to create a more vibrant downtown- but what I needed was a space that had available parking and easy access. The space is on the bus routes, but more importantly it is literally three to five minutes to any highway- whether you are doing business in downtown Albany, the Hudson Valley, Schenectady or Saratoga you've got a pretty straight shot; it is three minutes to Nanotech, five to the main campus, 10 or so to Troy and RPI; in five minutes you can be at Colonie Center, Stuyvesant Plaza and a number of local eateries- a few more you're at Crossgates. I often walk to the Asian Market for lunch, but yes, other than that you're getting in your car. But until the cities of Albany and Troy address parking needs- which I hope they do- I believe the location fits the local culture and the needs of the community members more than any space downtown does at this time. I hope you'll check it out.... and I absolutely welcome any critical input you or anyone else may have.

oh haha that "Albany is so provincial and behind the times" chestnut never gets old.

We're *just* getting martini bars? really? Last I heard we started getting martini bars about 15 years ago when they were trendy. And even saying that belabors the silliness of using martini bars as the arbiter of what's au courant.

Rebecca-

I am truly sorry you took something said in jest in a rather lengthy conversation and feel the need to twist it into such negativity. It was certainly not intended as such. I did not call Albany "provincial" and if I used the phrase "behind the times" (which I am not sure I did) it was not intended to insult but to describe- perhaps ineloquently- the general conservatism in the region (which most would not dispute). You are absolutely right, however, martini bars are hardly au courant- and maybe it was a silly thing to say. I love where I live and want to keep our city vibrant and unique- and despite your sarcastic and narrow focus on that singular written phrase I would imagine we hope for the region many of the same things. I am sorry if due to a few misspoken words you were unable to see the bigger picture... I welcome a real conversation if ever you would like to openly participate and I hope you might.

Best- scott

Ditto what Abby said. I think it's an excellent location - very convenient. Good luck, Scott. Hope to see updates on AOA.

@Rebecca: If you want a more current example of Albany being behind the times, you need look no further than the recent news of a gastropub opening in the former Pasquale's location.

Below is the link to the discussion on Table Hopping, the dominant food blog in the region:
http://blog.timesunion.com/tablehopping/24248/wine-bar-owner-chef-to-open-albany-gastropub/

Even though the Spotted Pig (a gastropub in NYC nary a few hours away) has been open since 2004, the word "gastropub" alone is being greeted by many local readers with such consternation, that it is easy to see how critics of Albany might call its denizens provincial.

Mind you, I am not one of these critics. But I do see where they are coming from.

nah, just saying "Albany seems to be 10 years behind other places" implies "provincial", which was indeed my word, not yours.

I respect and support any and all who are trying to make the Capital District a more modern liveable place, so forgive me if my feathers got ruffled a little by a particular comment!

onward...

Almost 100% sold on your 4 day a month rates. When the final prices come through, and the final furniture, I will be VERY interested in checking out the space. How much furniture is staying?

Not to mention it will give me a phenomenal excuse to do more of my shopping at the Asian Supermarket.

I work for the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region. We manage a business incubator for the Albany Center for Economic Success at 255 Orange Street in Albany. I applaud any effort like this and I want to call attention to the fact that we have opened a "Virtual Office" space in our building which offers inexpensive professional office space for the small business that doesn't need an ofice all of the time. So you rent it by the hour. You have wireless internet, nice furnishing, a building with security and other tenants, a good parking lot and a convenient location. I welcome emails or phone call inquiries. Thanks!

OK Scott, now I get it. Great idea. I wonder if you can mitigate the where-to-eat problem with some sort of kitchen area, a fridge stocked with fresh produce, a cabinet stocked with fresh bread and deli stuff, maybe cans of soup, delivery menus, etc.
My office mates and I spent $20 on a Foreman grill, and spent months bringing in various sandwich fixins for collective paninis. We called it "the people's grill", and you had to be an avowed communist to use it.

Thanks, Dan! Thanks, Leah! Thanks, Ellen! Will be posting updates to the facebook page....

Do it!
I want to see this happen in Albany and in my home town in Schenectady. Let me know when it is done and I will put you on our radar for potential drop in sites.

Chris Mach
Associate Director, AT&T Evolving Workplace Strategies
Dallas, Texas

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