Los Alamos County Councilor David Izraelevitz, center, chats with attendees gathered Wednesday evening at the first public opening of projectY, a new coworking space in Central Park Square. The organization also hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony earlier in the day attended by LANL CTO Duncan McBranch, Council Vice Chair Susan O’Leary and Councilor Kristin Henderson. Photo by Jim O’Donnell
From left, LACDC Executive Director Patrick Sullivan, Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard and her husband Valley Daily Post Publisher Eric Vasquez at Wednesday’s opening event for projectY in Central Park Square. Photo by Jim O’Donnell
Los Alamos Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge, center, speaks with guests at Wednesday’s opening of projectY in Central Park Square. Photo by Jim O’Donnell
The new coworking space, projectY, open Wednesday in Central Park Square. The 2,400-square foot facility will serve to connect entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers and others and further develop economic activity in ‘the secret city’
The organization held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the morning, Wednesday followed by a community celebration in the evening in conjunction with the Los Alamos Entrepreneurs’ Network.
The new collaborative coworking space, located in Central Park Square in downtown Los Alamos, will serve as a hub for startups, freelancers and others to be connected to like-minded entrepreneurs, business experts, investors and mentors who will help them achieve their personal and professional goals. It is a collaborative effort between Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation (LACDC), Los Alamos County, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Feynman Center for Innovation and Community Relations and Partnerships Office, and Central Park Square owner Philip Kunsberg.
“projectY will fill a critical gap for coworking space options for young professionals, entrepreneurs and home business owners looking to expand their presence in Los Alamos,” County Manager Harry Burgess said. “This kind of need has been consistently identified in economic development surveys for small startup businesses in the past, and so it is exciting to see projectY open its doors to those opportunities … we are pleased to have this kind of resource located in the heart of downtown Los Alamos, and we wish them every success.”
According to LACDC Executive Director Patrick Sullivan, the new coworking space promotes sustainable economic progress by encouraging regional entrepreneurship.
“We view projectY as an investment in our entrepreneurial community, as it’s a joint effort with partners who aim to better connect individuals and companies not only with each other, but with the resources they need to better serve their own business, the local community, and the region,” Sullivan said. “Individuals and teams can have the flexibility they need with office space, while working alongside a supportive, idea-driven community of other entrepreneurs.”
Coworking is now considered a global movement that many say is the future of the work environment, with DeskMag reporting that the most rapid growth is seen across regions in Asia. In New Mexico, Albuquerque has established a coworking alliance and Santa Fe also maintains a cohort of smaller coworking spaces and executive suites for business. Experts have said that coworking environments offer individuals increased innovation, happiness and productivity when compared to the more siloed experiences of working from home or in a coffee shop.
“projectY is intended to serve as a place for the business community to gather, share ideas, seek guidance, make important connections and have fun,” said Lauren McDaniel, director of projectY. “We’re in the middle of the creative district in Los Alamos, near restaurants, Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op and UnQuarked Wine Room, and we hope to bring people together in a constructive, collaborative and meaningful way.”
Micheline Devaurs, program manager for market transition at LANL’s Feynman Center for Innovation, helped lead the effort to start a coworking space in Los Alamos. In 2015, Devaurs also was at the forefront of starting Los Alamos’ first co-op brewery, Bathtub Row Brewing Co-op, and she sees a similar model working well for projectY.
“The magic of coworking is to foster an opportunity-rich community with programming and events that help educate entrepreneurs,” Devaurs said. “I’m passionate about providing a location for the entrepreneurial community to connect with those like-minded individuals at LANL, and to see what new ideas or initiatives are sparked.”
“projectY,” once the code name for Los Alamos National Laboratory, pays homage to the Manhattan Project-era with its décor; some of the furniture and decorations were donated by the former “Manhattan” TV show production that filmed in Santa Fe for two seasons. The open floor plan of projectY accommodates desks, a kitchen, private phone rooms, lounge areas and a conference room, and is intended to foster a dynamic, collaborative work environment that harnesses the collective energy of those working and sharing ideas in the space.
Flexible pricing options range from non-member $10/day passes, to monthly occasional-use memberships that include 5-day and 14-day options, as well as a special “founding member” rate of $149/month for new full-time members who sign up before July 1. Custom packages also are available for corporate events and meetings. The projectY cowork Los Alamos memberships include free admission to all programming and events, WiFi and utilities, basic office supplies and printing, as well as coffee, tea and snacks. The space also is BYOB-friendly.
Community members check out the new coworking space, projectY, Wednesday in Central Park Square. Photo by Jim O’Donnell