Cloud 85, a co-work, public office space, to open in North Adams
NORTH ADAMS >> New office space is opening downtown — and for a membership fee, anyone can work there.
Called Cloud 85, the business is a new concept in office use; members can work there all week and have their own space, or they can use the space on a more sporadic basis.
Jeffrey Thomas, a partner in the business and manager of Cloud 85, said he expects the space will appeal to "independent professionals," folks who are finding it difficult to be productive in a home office due to household distractions, or freelancers like writers, graphic designers, telecommuters or consultants — folks who are on the run much of the time but need a place to grab some desk time on a semi-regular basis.
Then there are the local companies that may have a special project team in town for the short term that needs a little extra desk space.
"Our hope is that people who have a home office will find this to be a more productive space," Thomas said. "It can be hard to be productive in the house when there are chores that need doing or laundry in the washer. It can be distracting."
Then there is the community-building aspect: Working at home alone can be a lonely proposition. Working in an office offers a feeling of community — and others to aid the creative process with conversation and idea-building banter.
"It is an opportunity to be part of a community," Thomas said. "A place where other like-minded people are working."
Cloud 85 boasts 31 work spaces and two reservable private offices for meetings in a 1,370-square-foot office setting.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Cloud 85, which is at 85 Main St.; the facility officially opens on Wednesday.
Prospective members will choose the level at which they wish to join, and once on board they can have access to work space, high-speed Wi-Fi, copier, fax machine, printer, networking events, conference space and private meeting rooms.
The top tier of membership — at $230 month — also provides a permanent desk space. The next level, at $150 per month, allows for work space in a private carrel, group table or plush chair, with 24/7 access.
There are other tiers with varying levels of access, including a day pass, which provides access to work space for one day at a cost of $20.
Already, the North Adams Chamber of Commerce has signed on, he said, and others are starting to line up.
Chamber President Glenn M. Maloney said the energy of the space was a big attraction.
"For the North Adams Chamber to be a vibrant part of the business community we must be around growth, great ideas and people willing to collaborate," he said. "We also realize that if our program coordinator is doing his job as designed he must be flexible. He should spend 90 percent of his time in the field visiting businesses and building relationships, so a part-time office space is ideal.
Market studies done before embarking on the venture showed potential locally for just such an office concept. Similar co-work spaces are springing up quickly in larger urban areas, Thomas said.
"It is very complementary to the way people work now," he said. "It's a manifestation of the evolution of office needs since the onset of smart phones, tablets and laptops."
The business is in newly renovated space in a building owned and managed by Scarafoni & Associates. David Carver, real estate developer for Scarafoni, said his company and Cloud 85 both invested a great deal of time and money in the venture. Scarafoni workers had just completed installation of a high-end HVAC system and new wiring throughout.
"We didn't want to do it unless we could do it right," he said. "With the needs of office space today, we had to install all new infrastructure to handle those needs. We're hoping to pioneer a new type of office space for North Adams."
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