You’ve started a business and have been working from home. That sounded like a good idea, and maybe it was… for the first few months. But now you’re finding out that working from home comes with its own set of distractions, and that meeting potential clients or customers at the nearest coffee shop isn’t always feasible. You’re now at the point where you need a professional presence for your business and for meetings, a home base each day that gets you out of the house and into a productive work environment, but you’re on a budget.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur who wants to stop working from home, a freelancer who floats between clients and jobs all day long, or a company employee who works remotely, the Flex Office & Coworking Space at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in South Allentown provides professionals with the affordable workspace they need in a shared office environment.
How it started
In the late 1990s, Allentown Economic Development Corporation opened the Home Office Alternative, which was developed during the early internet boom when entrepreneurs began developing concepts for a new business and working from home. Years later after visiting coworking spaces in other parts of the country for both ideas and inspiration, an updated incarnation of the concept, then known at Hive4A, was started. In 2014, thanks to a $50,000 Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Challenge Grant, the original Home Office Alternative and Hive4A areas were renovated into a modern industrial open office area consisting of 10 private offices and a 10-person conference room that opened into an updated coworking space with a kitchenette and lounge area.
A 2-person unfurnished office starts at $325 a month. Rates increase from there for 3, 4, and 6-person offices. So as your new company takes off, there’s room to grow without having to move out of Bridgeworks. You’ll have 24/7 access to the building so you can work at whatever time is most convenient for you. All office renters have access to fiber optic internet, two conference rooms, a shared kitchenette, and a shared printer. Onsite parking is included in the monthly rent, which is a big cost saver compared to facilities located downtown. They can also use Bridgeworks as their business mailing address. Of the 10 offices in Bridgeworks, five are presently available for leasing.
Other benefits include the proximity to downtown Allentown (a 15-minute walk or 7-minute drive away); a modern industrial setting; and easy access to all points in the region on I-78 or major thoroughfares.
Coworkers pay a flat fee of $60 a month for an unlimited amount of usage between 8 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday. The month-to-month agreement allows for flexibility as work needs change. Benefits are similar to those for office workers including access to the internet, shared printer/copier, conference rooms, and kitchenette and lounge area, plus two phone booths to take private calls. As mentioned above, onsite off-street parking is also included. The coworking space currently has 10-15 dedicated coworkers but has the capacity to handle many more.
“Everyone who takes the time to come into the building always leaves saying ‘Wow! I can’t believe how great this place is. I wouldn’t have imagined this being here,’” explained Program Manager Anthony Durante. “But what really hooks them is Friday happy hour. Our business incubation program just down the hall is home to a meadery, brewery, and distillery. What more could you ask for?”
Why is an office at Bridgeworks so great?
Let two of our clients tell you why.
Lori Blatt – BlattCom LLC
Blatt’s business works with B2B decision makers in the manufacturing and construction sectors to uncover their inside advantage and then builds a marketing plan around it as a blueprint to engage with their target audience.
“After 13 years of having a home office, I realized I was missing the structure and social aspect of going to the office. My office also has helped me have regular office hours, whereas working from home had become 24/7.”
“When I met with a client who is one of the anchor tenants at Bridgeworks, I was blown away at what I found inside this unassuming industrial building. The Flex Space has a creative industrial vibe that pays tribute to its history as Mack Trucks Plant #4A.”
“I think it’s an incredible value for any entrepreneur to build their business. You can choose from the open-concept coworking area, or one of the dedicated offices that surround the perimeter of the space. The amenities are fantastic, and the management and facilities team are wonderful to work with. Plus, in the past last two years that I’ve had my office here I have made business connections with others in the building.”
Jeffrey Anthony – Synaptic Consulting
Synaptic Consulting’s service portfolio spans Financial Technologies (FinTech), Data Analytics, Business Intelligence, Project Management, Product Development, Lean Manufacturing, Enterprise-Wide Cost Reduction, and a variety of C-Level Services. They deliver these services to clients via training, consulting, and business process outsourcing.
“Having founded the firm coming out of corporate backgrounds and being fortunate enough at the time to know that we’d be bringing a few Fortune 1000 companies into our client portfolio rather quickly, having an office at home was never an option for us. At the same time, being comprised largely of contract associates spanning the U.S. and the E.U., we didn’t need thousands of square feet of centralized office space in any single location either. So, the office space we’ve leased here at Bridgeworks, and the shared spaces such as the conference rooms, was exactly what we needed and when we needed it. We looked at several potential office locations in downtown Allentown, Center Valley, and Bethlehem, and it was clear that leasing office space at Bridgeworks was by far the best dollar-for-dollar value available anywhere in the Lehigh Valley.”
“Bridgeworks is a vibrant, top-notch facility where the value delivered to tenants far exceeds the cost. With numerous meeting rooms, soaring ceilings with plenty of natural light, open space, and extensive shared resources such as printing and internet service, Bridgeworks inspires big ideas and provides the environment that growing businesses need to see them through. Synaptic Consulting is proud to be headquartered in Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, proud to bring clients here, and we look forward to continuing our growth at Bridgeworks for many years to come.”
What’s it like to be a coworker?
We spoke with Gary Schall of TSD Enterprises LLC, a long-time Bridgeworks coworker about his experience.
TSD Enterprises LLC provides networking and training services to assist individuals and companies in getting better recognition when searching for a new job, a career change, or new clients. Clients include individuals in job transition, college students getting ready to join the workforce after graduation, and companies looking to add new clients or find other businesses to partner with.
“The primary reason for having an office outside the home is to offer a professional environment for meeting with my clients. The Flex Office & Coworking space at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center also provides access to both a 10-person and a 16-person conference room, allowing me to have a professional presentation venue complete with projector screens and large video displays. Public Wi-Fi allows my clients to access their own LinkedIn profiles, offering greater interaction with my clients during workshops.”
“The shared workspace allows me to interact with other businesses there, providing for greater networking opportunities. The open office design invites collaboration, and the two phone rooms offer areas for private conversations when needed. A quality laser printer gives me the ability to distribute better handouts and documents to my clients, and the conference rooms have amenities like conference calling, whiteboards, and large video displays.”
“Having a professional meeting space helps to establish you as a legitimate business. You’re not meeting on a kitchen table or in a noisy coffeehouse, but in an atmosphere that creates an air of knowledge and experience. The shared workspace allows you to interact with other professionals, share your expertise with others, and draw on the experience of others. AEDC offers support as well and does a fantastic job of maintaining the building and infrastructure. I look forward to heading into Bridgeworks every morning and talking with other business owners.”
This sounds great! How do I get a tour of Bridgeworks?
Anyone interested in taking an office tour or doing a complimentary coworking test day should contact Anthony Durante at 610-435-8890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.