In 2005, Brad Neuberg had been unhappy with his office job and was searching for a solution.
He wrote, “I wanted at the same time the freedom and independence of working for myself along with the structure and community of working with others.”
To bring his idea of "collaborative workspaces" to life, he began renting a room in a feminist collective in the Mission District of San Francisco. Every Monday and Tuesday morning, he would have to set up tables and chairs, and then take them down at the end of the day.
“The one thing, though, was that I would have to set up the space each of those days and then break everything down as I couldn't leave any permanent additions,” he writes.
Chris Messina and Tara Hunt, under Neuberg's guidance, launched their solution in 2006. Called Citizen Space, it was the first official dedicated coworking space in the United States.
Since that time, the number of coworking spaces has doubled yearly, and in 2018, there were 4,500 coworking spaces being reported across the US in 2018 with an estimated 638,000 members.
Coworking Comes to Downtown
This month a new coworking space, City Office, will open in the lower level of City Market on Center Avenue in Bay City. Far different from coworking’s tables-and-chairs origin story in San Francisco, City Office is 12,000 square feet of thoughtfully designed coworking space.
“City Office is gorgeous. From floor to ceiling, it’s impressive,” said Jen Idalski, owner of 989 Concierge, a local business that provides support to other businesses with things like running reports, doing inventory, emails, and databases.
City Office is unique in its size and the options available to its members. A long list of amenities include small or large lockable private office spaces which are available to rent; conference rooms that may be reserved with the click of a mouse; workstations at kitchen countertops, in front of TVs, at private desks, and a pool table. There will also be print stations, an espresso bar, and phone booths for private conversations.
“Our excitement and motivation is to make Bay City an even better place to live, work, engage, and inspire,” said Nicole Kinde, the manager of City Office.
Kinde says that members will also be able to take advantage of City Market by being able to have meetings catered by marketplace vendors.
Matthew Meehan is a co-owner of City Office, and as an entrepreneur himself, he says that he and his partner Rod Hildebrandt’s idea is simple: to give small business owners, freelancers, or people who work from home a place to get inspired in a collaborative work environment.
“Our mission here is to bring people together to ultimately help our entire community be successful,” Meehan says.
Smith and Associates, CPA offers accounting services in 4 locations in Central Michigan and will be one of the first members of the City Office.
“We had had our eye on Bay City for the last little bit because it would fit in well with our other locations,” said Emily Smith, who will represent Smith and Associates in Bay City. “We also noticed that Bay City and its different businesses has been undergoing a lot of construction and remodeling lately, and want to get established in the area.
Smith says that she was drawn to City Office because of its downtown location.
“We are excited to take up residence here," she says, "and hope to grow and get involved with Bay City and the local community."