The Coworker is a new weekly series by MTLinTECH that spotlights one Montreal coworking space every Tuesday.
Christopher Macdonald surveyed his 1,600 sq.ft. coworking space on boulevard St. Laurent, which lies exactly perpendicular to rue Roy.
Everything including the wood furniture was hand-crafted by Macdonald himself, save for a few chairs. The space, called Nuwrk, is a small, minimalist space that has opportunity even in the smallest nooks and corners.
“There’s definitely opportunity,” said Macdonald. “I’m thinking about putting some sofas over there to make a chill area,” he said as he pointed an area of the space’s north-facing wall.
Nuwrk opened its doors to the public on June 9, yet another new offering to a somewhat saturated coworking market in Montreal. What the space lacks in size it makes up in its prime location in the Pleateau and Macdonald’s ideas.
Once Macdonald and his partners found the space on St. Laurent, they knew it was the one.
“It had been empty for four years. I thought, “Oh my god, this would be amazing to have a coworking space in. It just sort of happened very serendipitously.”
The space currently has about 12 people working out of it every day and it probably has space for 30 to 40 people. Nuwrk certainly takes the “new” into consideration with some of its pricing. There exists a three-tier pricing system. Three days a week and eight conference room bookings for the month goes for $250, while $70 per month gets five hotdesk bookings and three conference room bookings throughout the month. Meanwhile the $40 option offers three hotdesk and one conference room booking per month.
“I’ve really found in my experience that people don’t need to use a coworking space every day,” said Macdonald. “Often on Mondays coworking spaces are dead. People come in Wednesday and Thursdays because that’s when the distractions at home have built up.”
Macdonald does has a world of possibilities ahead of him. He has access to more space beside his location if demand gets higher.
More importantly, he’s got some serious plans for legitimate programs for Montreal’s community. He’s planning to open a coding school. It seems like a good idea in a still spacious Montreal market for this kind of service.
The coder-at-heart previously built a geo-location marketing SDK called Sidekik that was ultimately acquired. Before that he spent 13 years in tech and new media, mostly working for his own agency or others on the client-facing side.
Much of the impetus for both the coworking space and the new coding school simply came from what Macdonald viewed as a growing demand for tech services in the city from Montreal’s younger population. There’s so many young people in the Plateau who are consuming, developing and buying into tech that it made sense for him.
With the coding school he hopes to emphasize more of a creative learning experience rather than a commerce-driven one. Commerce will always remain a large part of app development, but he hopes people will enjoy learning how to “break stuff and put it back together.”
“It’s really about creating packages or a series of lectures where you can take something and change it. It’s creative computation,” he said. “Let’s break something, put it back together and make it awesome. A lot of stuff can be so cut and dry where we have this end result. But what if we did ‘this’ before we go to where we planned? What result does that bring?”
Whatever this coding school does end up looking like, it looks like Montreal’s in for a new kind of bootcamp experience.
Have you read the rest of The Coworker series?
Esplanade creates a familial atmosphere – August 2
Le 402 is small but the price is nice – July 26