Jump to the intro.

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The building is at 24 Fourth Street in downtown Troy, across the street from the Uncle Sam Parking Garage. The renovation of the 1920s building facade isn't finished, yet (thus the plywood) -- Nardacci said it should be finished by December.

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Front desk.

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Area off to the side of the front desk.

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Stairs up to the second level.

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One of the second-floor conference rooms.

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Looking from the back to the front of the second-floor co-working space.

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Another conference/meeting room.

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The offices of Gramercy Communications are in the back of the building on the second floor.

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On the first floor behind the front desk there are a series of offices that can be rented by the month. (A few of them are already occupied, by companies that range from software to marketing.)

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Each office has been decorated in a differen style by a local Troy business. This one was designed by FunCycled.

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An office with furniture constructed with materials made by Ecovative.

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A lounge area behind the offices.

Troy Innovation Garage

Troy Innovation Garage interior

The Troy Innovation Garage -- a new co-working space "aimed at the Capital Region's creative entrepreneurs" -- opened last week in a renovated building on Fourth Street in downtown Troy.

The project is backed by Tom Nardacci, the founder of local PR and marketing firm Gramercy Communications, which also has offices in the building. And it's probably the largest-scale attempt so far to open a co-working space similar to what you find in large cities.

Here are a few more details, along with a look around...

Photo tour

They're above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Co-working?

Co-working can mean a range of situations, but generally speaking the term refers to a flexible, drop-in office/space/place where a group of people who don't work for the same company all can work.

The idea is probably as old as offices, with informal or side agreements allowing people to use an extra space or desk. But over the last decade co-working has become a widespread setup in many cities as more people work remotely or "from home" or freelance. And many companies have popped to own and manage the spaces. One of the big chains -- a company called WeWork -- has more than 70 locations and is said to be valued at $16 billion.

There are a few different reasons why these spaces have become popular. One is cost -- especially in big cities, it can be cheaper to buy a co-working membership than it is to set up your own office with rent and the associated expenses. Another reason is that people like the company of having other people around. Working by yourself at home all day, or wherever, can be isolating. So having other "coworkers" around to chat with now and then -- or maybe even lend some advice or help pitch in together on a project -- can be attractive.

We get the sense the co-working trend hasn't taken root as strongly in the Capital Region as it has other places (at least, maybe not yet), but there are a handful of setups around the area including the Beahive in downtown Albany, the Tech Valley Center of Gravity in Troy (it's one part of the programming there)*, and Sharatoga Coworking in Saratoga Springs. (That is not a comprehensive list.)

So, what's the story Troy Innovation Garage?


One of the offices that are available to rent by the month.

Right, back to the the Troy Innovation Garage. As mentioned, it's backed by Tom Nardacci of Gramercy Communications. As he explained during a tour of the space, he had been looking at possibly expanding Gramercy to other cities upstate, but the prospect of logging all those miles along the Thruway wasn't exactly appealing. While he was out in Buffalo investigating a potential expansion opportunity, he got a look at a business incubator space there and that got him thinking about a different idea: a co-working space for Troy.

Nardacci said he ended up visting about 30 co-working spaces around the country in an effort to find out what works (and doesn't), as well as to get a better sense of what shape he wanted the Troy Innovation Garage to take.

The result: A $1 million investment in a building and renovation that includes offices for Gramery in the back, and in the front a co-working space with plenty of different desk arrangements, nooks, and conference rooms. And to go along with that space, a goal to develop a friendly, flexible, collaborative atmosphere among the members.

"It's all about the community," Nardacci said, explaining that sees the space as an opportunity for startups and small businesses to support and learn from each other. "We want it to be a successful business, but it's much more than that."

Toward that end, Nardacci hired Michelle Schroll to work specifically for the Troy Innovation Garage as a community manager, to help coordinate events, connect members, and keep things running smoothly.

Numbers and whatnot

Troy Innovation Garage co-working space looking toward front windows

Cost
Membership plans start at two drop-in days per month for $60. And the per-day rate gets cheaper as the number of days per month increases. (A membership with 24/7 unlimited access each month is $350, or a little less than $12 per day.)

Nardacci said he figures that most members will end up with an average cost of about $20/day. He also said that they're still making changes as things evolve -- and it sounds like they're open to being flexible -- so if there's a different sort of arrangement that you might be interested it, it's worth asking about it.

Spaces
The co-working space includes 75-90 "seats" depending on configuration. They plan to cap membership at about 200 people.

As of last week, Nardacci said they had about 15 members. He figures they'll eventually need about 75 to make the numbers work.

Amenities
Among the amenities included:
+ 100 mpbs internet access, both download and upload
+ free printing
+ reservable conference rooms and meeting spaces
+ mailboxes
+ events
____

* TVCOG advertises on AOA.

Find It

Troy Innovation Garage
24 4th Street
Troy, NY 12180

Comments

The space looks great, as someone who occasionally works remotely, I think it's a really interesting idea.

Super important side question - are those booth chairs old Friendly's booths? IIRC, many locations had that same stripe pattern.

Troy cast out the hook and got some bites, now they're jacking up the property taxes on everyone who is trying to revitalize the city. Our entrepreneurs are gonna have to tighten the belt to make sure Mayor Madden gets his cut.

KGB- Good eye. The Hoosick St Friendly's was renovated recently.. maybe they're from there?

Sean, that makes no sense to say that Madden is "getting a cut". I give the guy credit for having the stones to actually say what everyone in Troy that's been paying attention has been pointing out for years: Troy has never been fiscally solvent, the books have just been getting cooked by several previous administrations. And it's just another part of the Troy 30 year cycle; an echo of what happened in the 90s which was an echo of what happened in the 60s.

Anyway, 28% isn't going to happen. My bet is it'll either be in the teens or we're going back to state oversight.

Is food served in the restaurant area?

Sean - been around Troy long? Probably not. Madden is the first Mayor in a long time (Pattison, Tutunjian, Rosamilia - there's 15+ years right there) to not play smoke and mirrors with the city budget, but rather lay the books on the table and let everyone see what has been hidden for so long. And don't forget the city council aids and abets in all these fiscal shenanigans. That's why politicians and comptrollers should stay separate - the two offices should be independent like the State does. Keep letting the politicians direct the finances and it won't be long before the city goes bankrupt again - just as it is nearing completion of the penalty payments from the 90's.

Municipal budgets need to run conservatively for two year minimums. Annual budgets are useless except to cover immediate things like payrolls. To truly craft a budget, a plan needs to drive it. Ain't gonna happen on a 365 day cycle.

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