Thu | Aug 22, 2019

Hub Coworking expands in joint venture deal with Kingston Creative

Published:Wednesday | May 15, 2019 | 12:11 AM
Managing Director of Kingston Hub Coworking Joelle Smith (left) and Managing Director of Kingston Creative Andrea Dempster Chung.
Managing Director of Kingston Hub Coworking Joelle Smith (left) and Managing Director of Kingston Creative Andrea Dempster Chung.

Hub Coworking Limited and non-profit group Kingston Creative have formed a joint-venture partnership on a coworking location in downtown Kingston by midyear.

The new location will double the size of the meeting rooms operated by the Hub Coworking from nine to 18.

“This will be our second coworking space. It will be a niche location which targets creatives,” said Joelle Smith, co-founder of Hub Coworking, which operates from New Kingston. Smith leads Hub Coworking as managing director. The other partners include Renee Wong-Brissett, Peta-Gay Pryce and Yaniece Gentles.

“We signed the lease on the first of April and should open in July 2019,” added Andrea Dempster Chung, managing director of Kingston Creative and co-owner of Bookophilia bookstore and café.

Downtown Kingston is slowly going through a period of renewal and the joint-venture partners see creatives as bringing colour to the city. Those in the creative economy usually include artists, musicians, dancers, writers, photographers and film-makers.

The space called Kingston Creative Hub spans 280 square metres or approximately 3,000 square feet on the top floor of a building at the intersection of Harbour Street and Church Street occupied by F&B Downtown and Swiss Stores.

Creatives often work out of cafés while sipping coffee or tea. The Hub will charge them roughly $500 per hour or $3,000 a day for workspace, which means they would need an incentive to buy the service.

“There are certain things you cannot do in a café,” said Smith. “We will have soundproof areas for people doing podcasts, we will have Avanta work desks for architects who need to lay out their plans. Our meeting rooms can be converted to photo studios. We are really trying to convert the space to appeal to creatives,” she added.

Apart from the rental of meeting rooms, desks and offices, Kingston Creative Hub will offer space for pop-up retail events, and provide shared services such as human resource management, accounting, traditional marketing and digital marketing services, and a business accelerator programme with lunch-hour sessions, says Dempster Chung.

Future plans will see the development of other “satellite locations” to appeal to other creatives that might not necessarily fit into the quiet space of offices and meeting rooms.

“Artists need messy space and dancers need loud space. Fashion people need expansive space. Downtown has all these unused spaces and the plan is to expand into all these spaces with satellite locations,” says Dempster Chung.

She refuted the notion that the downtown Hub aims to attract middle-class creatives while shunning creatives in working-class communities in proximity, saying all are invited and that discount vouchers are available for those who cannot afford the rates. These vouchers would be sponsored by public or private sector interests.

Negotiations are ongoing with the Kingston & St Andrew Municipal Corporation for additional locations, Dempster Chung added.

Kingston Creative organises a monthly ‘Artwalk’ which links art galleries downtown. It also has a monthly craft market downtown. The business was co-founded in 2017 by Allan Daisley and Jennifer Bailey. Its directors include Doris Gross and Kim-Marie Spence.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com