Two Queens natives are bringing a much-needed co-working space to Forest Hills.
Benny Tan and Tiffany Choi are the masterminds behind The Austin Space, the soon-to-be co-working space for the independent workers of central Queens. They wanted to create a place for technologists, creative freelancers, remote and independent workers, and entrepreneurs to be able to work without having to travel into other parts of Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan.
Tan works as a software engineer and is able to work remotely. He has spent hours working from a local coffee shop or a Starbucks many times. He often found it to be loud and noisy, distracting him from his work. He also noticed so many other people in the area where doing the same thing, working on their laptops in a crowded, noisy coffee shop.
Fed up with trying to complete his work in such unproductive conditions, Tan, with the help of Choi, started looking for local co-working spaces.
“We searched for co-working spaces in Queens,” Tan said. “However, we only found corporate offices or places that were too far out, [like] Long Island City, Manhattan or Brooklyn. This is when it clicked, we can open a co-working space here in central Queens. We chose Forest Hills because of the location and community, and that Tiffany is familiar with the area as she was born, raised, and lives in Forest Hills.”
By creating a co-working space in Forest Hills, the duo hopes to bring innovative and creative workers and jobs to the neighborhood.
“For the past two decades, we feel like the focus has always been on Manhattan or Brooklyn, but we know that Forest Hills, Queens, can be the next place for innovation and creativity,” Tan said. “We have gotten such a positive response online about our co-working space — everyone believes that this space is something that Forest Hills needs. We realized that there are so many freelancers, contractors and independent business owners who live in the area and are in a desperate need for a workspace.”
The Austin Space is located on the second floor of 108-14 72nd Ave. and will have a wide range of amenities for its members, including high-speed internet connection, complimentary water, tea and coffee, an inclusive conference room, whiteboards, printer, kitchen, refrigerator, microwave, an outdoor patio, lounge area and more.
“In central Queens, there is nothing like this that breeds creativity and innovation. There is no community hub for technologists, creatives and entrepreneurs in this area where individuals can collaborate and work together,” Tan said. “This alone is the reason why we want to bring this space to Queens. It is so much more than a space — it is a community. We believe that The Austin Space can grow the local businesses in our community.”
The pair are receiving the keys on Sept. 1 and will spend that entire month renovating and moving into the space. They hope to officially open The Austin Space in early October and are allowing people to join a mailing list to get updates on the opening and other important information.
Tan and Choi have also created a Kickstarter campaign to help cover a portion of the expenses of The Austin Space, and backers can receive discounted membership rates.