Sandbox Suites, a co-working space which, according to founder and CEO Roman Gelfer, should appeal to those who are tired of working from home or from cafes, opens today in downtown Berkeley.
The space — a 3,600 sq ft mix of open-plan working area, private offices, meeting rooms and a cafe (pictured above) — is at 1900 Addison Street, and is the second of Sandbox’s shared office spaces. Gelfer and his wife and co-founder, Sasha Vasilyuk, have been running one in San Francisco’s Civic Center neighborhood for over two years. A third Sandbox is planned for the Union Square area.
Sandbox operates much like a gym or other club. Memberships can be bought by the day ($35 for an all day drop-in desk), or by the month ($495 for the “Second Home” package which includes full-time use of a private desk and six hours of meeting room time). Start-ups can opt for the “Launch Pad” service, a private furnished room for four with 12 hours of meeting time at a rate of $1,275 a month.
Everyone gets to enjoy the free coffee and wi-fi, and there are printers, copiers and conference-call facilities on site.
Gelfer says they chose Berkeley because of its affluence, population density and convenient location close to BART. “There’s a need for this type of office space,” he says. The San Francisco Sandbox has a majority of tech consultants and software designers as members, as well as app developers. But Gelfer says it works for “anyone who works from a laptop” and points to the benefits of working alongside others. “It’s social and provides opportunities for cooperation; we’ve seen several projects grow out of Sandbox in San Francisco.”
Berkeley has a few other similar outfits, most notably The Hub which opened last year in the David Brower Center.The Hub has 2,000 sq ft of work and event space and describes itself “as a home for environmental and social action”.
Photos: Tracey Taylor.