Dear PoPville – Coworking Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

“Dear PoPville,

This is a desperate cry for help / call to action. I’m a freelancer up in Mt. Pleasant, and I need to get out of my cave. Although cats are indeed prolific conversationalists, I think I should practice my humanspeak.

Coffee-shops-cum-laptop-farms just don’t cut it for me, and there are only a couple coworking spaces in the district proper. And the prices are a bit high. I’m trying to gauge interest in a new coworking community up around these parts.

My question is thus: Are there folks out there who might be interested?

It’d be great to build a creative workspace where freelancers/entrepreneurs can collaborate, commiserate, and get out of the damn house.


24 Comment

  • This is an awesome idea, and if I were still freelancing, I’d be interested in talking about it with you. Back home, I rented space in a shared office (conference room, printers, wifi, etc) with a bunch of other creatives and it worked out great. Worked my own hours, got out of the house, spoke to other humans…

    I’m sure you’ll find an audience. Good luck!

  • I just heard about a tech incubator opening at 13th and Florida. Not exactly what I think you are envisioning, but certainly more social than working out of your apartment. Good luck!

  • I have a sort of related (not really but oh well) question.

    I am thinking about turning my garage in Columbia Heights into one of those ‘artist studios.’

    If I did, could I rent it out to 2-3 freelancers like the OP? Or do they have to be like real artists with berets and paint and all that crap?

    Personally I think it gets really dicey with web/graphic design. That’s a very artistic profession.

    • I think it all depends on the amenities you’re thinking of providing. Web designers and graphic designers generally use the same equipment that any other office worker might: wifi, printers, power supplies, security system for the building, etc (I’m oversimplifying the setup, I know).

      An “artsy-fartsy” studio (for painters and other fine artists) would just need a big empty room with lots of natural light and maybe a floor that is easily cleaned (think cement slab!).

  • There is a work from home group – Greenline professionals- that meets at Domku in Petworth once a month. Not exactly, what you are talking about but it might be a good start to get people interested.

  • I have had the same experience — too much cat talk, too expensive for existing co-working sites. I’d definitely be interested!

  • How would you get more work done with all the commiserating? I just don’t get it? Working from home is efficient because there’s less time wasted on idle chit chat and socializing unless of course you waste it looking at blogs all day. You want to get out of the house? Go to a bar or a church or a store after your work is done.

    • Schweeney — have you ever worked from home full-time? I did for 3 years. It can be very isolating and cabin-fever inducing. People need to be around other people sometimes, it’s just a human thing. The phone just doesn’t cut it.

      I now work in an office, and am much happier, even with a minor (40 minutes door-to-door) commute.

      • I’m in my 12th year of working from home in DC after 18 years of working in an office. I still work in the same business, with the same people but I don’t have to deal with mindless distracting jabber outside of my office door anymore. I am much more effective and much more happy than I ever was working in an office building. I’ve never had a moment of cabin fever. The cut in dry cleaning bills and the easy commute doesn’t suck either. I have plenty of people time, just not when I’m getting work done. Obviously your mileage varies from mine 🙂

  • Check out Affinity Lab – they are already doing something similar. Rates look reasonable…

  • Hey all,
    I am the original writer-inner. Thanks for your kind thoughts, Schweeney. Everyone else, thanks for the useful feedback.

    I actually did a test-run at Affinity Lab yesterday. I like the people, but I think it was a bit too large for me. I’m taking a look at District I/O tomorrow (, so we’ll see how it goes.

    I’m also intrigued by geekeasy — I went to the site and got in touch. I’ll let you know what I find.

    Meanwhile, I’m keeping an eye out for office space, just in case I decide to keep it smaller (maybe 5-10) people. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Affinity Labs in Adams Morgan (above Tryst) has been doing this for some time.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Affinity lab closed in Adams Morgan many months ago. It now has a location on U Street though some I’ve spoken with thought the price was a bit too high.

  • I’m soooo down! ….. PLease advise

  • Quincy St Neighbor

    Try Big Window Labs located directly about Looking Glass Lounge in Petworth:

  • I’ve been looking around for the same sort of thing! Seems like the options out there are mainly for people who have co-workers or want a bit more collaboration/socializing than I do, though–I want a quiet, private space for working most of the time, but it would be awfully nice to SEE and CONVERSE with people more than a couple of times a week. So I’m really looking for a space that has individual private offices in addition to common space. And given how free it is to work from home, I’d want it not to cost too much (not as much as Affinity Lab, e.g.). Thirdly, since I live out in Hill East, I’d be happiest with a central (if not eastern) location.
    OP, if we sound like a possible match, I’d love to be in touch about looking for a space to share. If not, you might be interested in H Street Greenhouse. It doesn’t seem to have its own functional webspace, but this blog post is pretty informative:

  • Re: Big windows above Looking Glass

    Does that mean the yoga studio is gone? People are walking on those precious yoga floors? Horrors. I remember how Guru Elisabeth yelled at me when I accidentally stepped on her previous floor with shoes.

  • There is also The Hive in Anacostia. Farther than you’d like but it’s affordable and amazing!?

  • I know I’m courting a barrage of spam here, but I just drummed up a little form so we can take this convo off the site:

    Feel free to pass on to anyone who might be interested.

  • If you can’t find the ‘right’ coworking space, you can always form your own Jelly ( or Meetup group and see if you can create your own posse of like-minded freelancers. The problem is you’d have to find a space big enough to host a good-sized group, has a stable internet connection, and enough sockets to go around (though a strip solves that problem for the most part).

    Yes, some coworking spaces can be expensive, especially for freelancers and indie workers just striking out…though they are usually much cheaper than your conventional shared office space…and are much more stimulating for getting the creative juices flowing. Some coworking spaces definitely have more of an office feel; some are more community-oriented and boisterous.

    There’s a new book out on coworking for those who are skeptical about it or for those interested and want to know how best to take advantage of a collaborative work environment and shared space. It’s called ‘Working in the UnOffice: A Guide to Coworking’ ( Might be a good read for folks here!

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