After three years of offering co-working spaces to young startups and entrepreneurs, General Assembly has decided to shut down the co-working brand of its business in 2014, according to multiple sources as well as a blog post.
According to the post, it simply makes more economic sense to shut down the co-working branch of the company and shift complete focus to the educational arm of General Assembly, which provides classes on things like Digital Marketing, Business Fundamentals and Tactics, and Back-end Web Development.
As it stands now, General Assembly already has 3,000 alumni students who have taken a longer term class with them, and 70k students who have step foot inside one of GA’s worldwide offices looking for mingling space and/or a class to enroll in.
The General Assembly building in New York’s flatiron district is a 30,000 square foot space, 11,000 square feet of which have been dedicated to the co-working area, with tenants like Neverware and Alphapipe taking up the space. While the GA space itself will be expanding to 45,000 square feet in the next few months, the dedicated co-working space will soon be occupied with GA staff while the communal space will be used as an alumni hang-out/event space.
Here’s what Jake Schwartz, CEO and co-founder, said in the blog post:
Over the past two and a half years, our community has grown much larger than our amazing co-working members. It now encompasses the tens of thousands of students who’ve come through our doors and the more than 3,000 alumni of our long-form courses, not to mention the hundreds of instructors and the 2,000 hiring partners who come to GA in search of top talent. Similarly, support once meant desks and space, but has come to also mean instruction, opportunity and talent for our students and hiring partners.
It is in this context that we have made the decision to stop offering our coworking services in 2014. It is not a decision we took lightly – but it is a necessary one as we work to expand our global network of students and alumni.
“I’ve been at GA since the beginning and will be sad to leave,” said Avi Berkowitz, AlphaPipe’s co-founder. “However, our team has grown significantly in recent months and so the need to move was something already in the cards for us.”
Luckily for Berkowitz and other tenants, there are a number of co-working spaces in the NYC area that have open arms. The landscape has changed quite drastically from when General Assembly first opened its doors as one of the only collaborative working spaces in the city.
However, with the pivot in the business at GA (now focused predominantly on education) and the soaring price of real estate in the Flat Iron district, this seems to be a decision that makes the most sense for General Assembly.
So confirms Schwartz in the blog post: “For a long time now, coworking has been a small part of the “business” of GA, even as it has remained important as a reminder of community as a founding an ongoing value of our company.”