It’s not exactly a secret that the District is host to an abundance of coworking spots.
In fact, when TechShop closed in Crystal City, many in the D.C. tech scene wondered if the area had reached a coworking critical mass.
Not so, says Albert Vega and Brad Halsley. They’re the creators of The Garden, a new coworking spot gearing up to open in Alexandria this fall.
“If I can help a single mom grow a business at no cost, I want to do that, and help them grow out of the space.”
Its coworking space looks to function much like, well, a garden.
“With The Garden, our goal is to take small businesses or small artisans and see them prosper,” Vega said. “We really want to take the hurt out of small business growth, while also providing a great place to work.”
What can you specifically expect to see out of The Garden? If Vega has his way, it could be anything from a robot for a history class, corporate tech training, or something to do with fabrication engineering.
“If I can help a single mom grow a business at [little] cost, I want to do that, and help them grow out of the space,” Vega said.
It’s The Garden’s desire to cater to a variety of needs that sets the place apart from the crowd. And it’s not the only thing.
Vega says the backgrounds of its C-suite leadership, for one. As veterans, Vega says they are used to tinkering, building and creating technology on fly.
Additionally, they’re jacks of all trades. Halsley is a chemist, Vega an engineer, and together have theatre and product professionals within their firm, Building Momentum, which was founded in 2014.
Then, the spaces’ equipment offerings make it unique.
“Our goal is co-building, rather than coworking, as we will have anything from welding equipment to electronics,” Vega said. “Small businesses that make products need hands-on places to build prototypes or tinker with existing ones. If there is an actual place to build the materials, it makes for a more connected space.”
It’s a move that will not only help its members physically construct their own creations, but also assist the D.C. coworking community at large.
In addition to these resources, the future 15,00-square-foot building will house a lawyer, who is well versed in intellectual property, as well as other amenities.
Dynamic programing is also on The Garden’s docket. Along with free weekend community get-togethers, there’s plans on producing the “Innovation Bootcamp” training at The Garden.
Typically hosted by the Building Momentum team, it’s a one-week program that teaches Marines new technology, from 3D printers to micro tech. Currently, it trains 60 participants in California, and The Garden team wants to do the same in Alexandria.