Cooperative office project offers low-rent space

By Ben Holbrook | Jun 14, 2012
Photo by: Ben Holbrook The Office founder Jennifer Hill stands in the conference room, which is available to her tenants for free, or it can be rented for $20/hour.

Belfast — For those looking for a cheap space to rent while still having access to downtown Belfast, The Office offers low-rent “nooks” that are ideal for work that requires a quiet atmosphere to concentrate.

The office, located at 17A Main St., offers cubicle-sized spaces for $150 a month, which includes heat, electricity and wireless internet. Jennifer Hill, who rents the nooks, said the idea came to her after seeing an advertisement on Craigslist to rent nooks for an hour.

“I thought that was kind of silly to rent them for just an hour, so I decided I wanted people to have 24/7 access,” Hill said. “I started putting out the word about the nooks and renters started to come in.”

In addition to the nooks, Hill also had a corner office available for $300 a month and a conference room that can be rented for $20 an hour. However, she acknowledged the nooks don’t necessarily meet the needs of everyone.

Since renters are grouped closely together, tasks that require being on the phone for long periods of time or other noisy endeavors are less suited for her spaces. Hill’s current residents have included writers, artists and aspiring musicians and actresses.

“I love the feel of this space. People are stunned when they come in and see how cool it is,” Hill said. “It’s a really good place to get things done.”

Renters have access to the building at all times but Hill said none of the current tenants work full-time, and that’s fine to Hill who said The Office really functions as an “incubator” space. She said people who are attracted to the nooks tend to be trying to start a new business or just need a space they can go to for a few hours a day.

“This is the type of space where you either get it or you don’t,” Hill said. “Not everybody has a vision for a space like this.”

Besides offering a cheap location to locate a workspace, Hill said there is a strong sense of community among the tenants who “do what needs to be done” to keep The Office in top shape.

One aspect of the nooks that has pleased Hill is the fact that every one of her tenants has pitched in to help improve the space; whether it’s cleaning the bathroom or providing furniture for the conference room.

“We sort of watch out for each other here and have each other’s backs,” Hill said.

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