Makeshift Brooklyn Closing, Marking Second Co-Working Space To Shutter This Year


A Williamsburg co-working space is slated to shutter this October, after opening its doors at 55 Hope Street just 15 months ago.

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Makeshift Brooklyn, which occupies 5,775 square feet at the base of the building between Havemeyer Street and Marcy Avenue, announced in a blog post that its plans hadn’t met the demands of Brooklynites. The open spaces intended for collaboration weren’t fitting with users’ needs, wrote Rena Tom, a co-founder of the San Francisco-based Makeshift Society. (Ms. Tom and Co-Founder Bryan Boyer did not immediately return emailed requests for comment).

“What we underestimated, though, is what people wanted,” Ms. Tom wrote earlier this month. “People want offices! They want a space with a door on it… The shape of what people want in Brooklyn does not match our research and our best guess. Makeshift Society in San Francisco was thriving almost immediately, but Brooklyn has struggled to hit critical mass even after a year and a half.”

It’s not the first co-working space to close this year. New Work City was considered a pioneer in co-working for freelancers and creative employees before shuttering its doors in June. The company’s lease at 412 Broadway in Downtown Manhattan was set to run out, and its founders opted not to renew. Instead, they wrote on the company’s website, New Work City was going to focus on creating a community of smaller co-working spaces throughout the city.

While admitting that things had not gone entirely according to plan at 55 Hope Street, Ms. Tom touted that Makeshift Brooklyn had still been moderately successful in just a short amount of time. That included companies forming relationships, collaboration and hosting events such as magic shows and book launches.

The founders aren’t quite sure what the next step will be, Ms. Tom wrote. They’re taking suggestions for what to do with the space, such as finding a startup looking for a new location as well as another co-working space looking to expand to fill the space.

“We made some mistakes when we opened the Brooklyn space, regarding elements of the business,” Ms. Tom wrote, “but we DON’T think our original mission is a mistake, nor the community that has formed around the space.”

Makeshift Brooklyn currently sits at the base of a 117-unit rental apartment building where studios can rent for $2,800 per month and a two-bedroom for $4,450 per month, as Commercial Observer previously reported.

The company originally inked a five-year deal in September 2013 for the commercial space of the recently-converted industrial building, CO reported at the time. The space features 18-foot-high ceilings and open windows. The goal for the company was to attract creative types living in the posh neighborhood to use the space.

Meanwhile, larger co-working spaces have taken over areas such as Lower Manhattan and have begun spilling over into Brooklyn. WeWork, a goliath of shared workspace, is planning to anchor a 675,000-square-foot development at the Brooklyn Navy Yards, as well as more than 160,000 square feet between several locations in the Dumbo section of the borough. Cowork|rs, a rival company, recently opened its first location in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, which is 42,000 square feet.

“If you’re looking to double your company…it’s very difficult or there’s not an advantage to signing a lease,” Jukay Hsu, the founder of tech-focused nonprofit C4Q, told CO in July on the merits of co-working spaces for younger companies.