Homebase, a new progressive workspace for Baltimore’s freelancers, self-starters and gig workers, recently opened on Pratt Street, not far from the Baltimore Convention Center, and aims to bring a new spirit to the city’s DIY economy.
What does that mean? Picture a contemporary, bright and modern office space outfitted with conference rooms, the latest in technology, a communal kitchen and a dining area, all accessible to the city’s public transportation system.
On a recent tour, Simien Antonis Parr, director of operations, was proud to show off six spacious single offices and three two-person stations. There are also open desk slots with room for 10 more workers. Members receive access to meeting rooms that boast a speedy Wi-Fi connection and customized temperature settings in each private space.
After years spent at other co-working spaces up and down the east coast, Parr said he was happy to bring everything he has learned back home to Baltimore.
“After college, I was in Orlando where I met up with a few people that were operating their business out of a co-working space called Collab,” he says. “That was my first experience working as a member in a co-working space, in a start-up, and I had an awesome time. I just really felt like other people were exploring this option to not work out of your home and to work as a team. I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
Co-working provides opportunities to both observe and learn from colleagues and bring the opportunity for networking and collaboration, Parr says.
“When you’re new into experiencing co-working and working with other people, possibly you’ve worked at your house for five to 10 years and isolated,” he says. “So, walking into a 3,000 square foot space, with a couple of hundred people, some people are compatible with it. They want to be a part of a culture that is on the (same) grind that you’re doing as well. It is camaraderie, and that is the kind of support we want to offer.”
At Homebase, space can be secured through flexible plans by day, week, month or year, and anyone can sign up, he says.
“There’s no prerequisite or standard bar to getting in here,” he says. “Anybody that is working on their business, regardless of whether it’s an individual or a team, we bring everybody in.”
Already they are looking to add later and weekend hours. “We’ve gotten a lot of requests from people that are moonlighting after their current job in the evening or morning on some project. They want a place to do that,” he says.
And Homebase is looking to open a second location very soon. This one will be in Clipper Mill and should open doors to workers by the end of the year, Parr says.
“It will be roughly the same size, 3,000 square feet, although we’re not going to have as many open workspaces,” he says. “It’ll mainly be single, double and triple offices. This location and Clipper Mill are on the Light Rail. If you live out in the burbs, and you jump on the Light Rail the Hunt Valley, avoid all traffic, and you can go to an office in Clipper Mill. And if you need to conduct a meeting with a client downtown, you can jump on the Light Rail, come to this place, and conduct the meeting here and then go back to your office. So, the connection between both locations is going to give us a unique edge.”