SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

August 14, 2013

Don't need a whole office? Rent a desk

Shetland Park picks up on new trend of sharing office space

SALEM — The Shetland Park waterfront business center has so much space inside its cavernous Building 4 that producers of “Grown Ups 2” used a portion of it to construct the top half of a house as a set last summer.

With 1.5 million square feet in all, Shetland Park has plenty of space to offer. But those seeking space for large corporate headquarters and massive manufacturing plants are rare nowadays.

So, the waterfront office park is thinking small as a way to attract entrepreneurs with big ideas, in hopes that they will grow their new businesses and someday occupy more space in the office park, which is 63 percent rented. Shetland Park is tapping into a trend that allows business people to rent small office spaces with amenities like WiFi access, private cellphone booths, conference rooms and mailing addresses.

At a time when you can work virtually from anywhere, Shetland Park has jumped into the co-working space trend with a new Rent-A-Desk center in which tenants can rent a desk in a shared office for $150 a month. The center is located in a former cotton weave shed known as Building 4, where the movie set was located last summer.

”For $150, you get a legitimate business site, where sometimes that’s out of reach for people,” said John Kelly, vice president of Shetland Park.

The shared office space where the 24 desks are located offers stunning views of Salem Harbor. The hope is it will attract business people who need a safe harbor for their startup.

”A lot of times, they start in a house and they need a business address,” Kelly said. “That’s where the difference lies. They have a legitimate business address, they can get a business license, they can do anything they want.”

The shared office space has an advantage over a home office in that there are fewer distractions, Kelly said. A shared office also provides the type of interaction and networking opportunities staying at home cannot provide.

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