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Coworking Space Primary Swaps Ping-pong for Yoga

Grown-Up Co-Work

For too long coworking spaces have all been the same. There’re the ping-pong tables and exposed brick; the beers on tap and the Friday happy hours. There’s nothing wrong with working in that environment, but it’s not for everyone. Primary, a coworking space opening in the Financial District in May, positions itself as a more mature way to co-work.

“People are realizing that coworking isn’t one size fits all,” Danny Orenstein, a co-founder of Primary, told us. “We’re filling a gap that companies like WeWork don’t.”

Orenstein and his co-founder Lisa Skye Hain were actually early employees at WeWork. But what differentiates Primary from WeWork is the emphasis on self-care. Too often when you’re starting your business or just really busy with work, you forget to take care of yourself, Skye Hain said.

“We believe that if you make your primary focus or priority yourself and your wellness, all else in your life–including your business–can thrive,” said Skye Hain.

The Primary motto is “You Work Best When You Feel Great.”

The Primary team isn’t alone in their philosophy. Tech companies like Facebook and Apple have included wellness elements into the designs and offerings of their offices.

At Primary, there will be 30+ weekly wellness classes at the members only fitness studio, including yoga and meditation classes and off-site group runs and bike rides. There will be bike storage and showers for workers to go seamlessly from commuting to work. For lunch, co-workers can sample seasonal fare from Digg Inn, and fresh juices from Lulitonix and Pure Green.

The design for the 25,000 square foot space in the old Standard Oil Building, was created with wellness in mind. The multi-room location includes green walls, tons of natural light, curving walls with few sharp edges, and water fountains placed throughout. (Bring your own reusable bottle.)

The architecture is a blend of old and new. Orenstein, who headed up construction and aesthetics, kept some of the original elements from the historic space. Authentic crown moldings can be seen throughout the otherwise up-to-date location.

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It’s the sort of “place that you would want to bring an investor,” said Orenstein.

The businesses that have been signing up for Primary’s memberships are “a little more mature” than typical co-workers, said Orenstein. So far members range from wellness related employees to accountants, lawyers, and designers. Memberships vary from $150 to $7,000 per month. coworking seats are $600 per month, and dedicated offices start at $700 per month.

There’s a more secluded section for health and wellness practitioners’ offices along with a private waiting space. Primary members are encouraged to book appointments with chiropractors, massage therapists, and other health care pros on site.

Andy Dillow, the director of Intern New York, has signed on for an office at Primary. Dillow will run the newly launched New York arm of the international intern placing organization The Intern Group from a four-person office there. He choose Primary because of their “integrated approach that caters to your whole life rather than just your work life,” he said.

The trick will be for Primary to “keep that quality of service and sense of community” as they expand. The Primary team has secured a multi-million dollar investment to open another location in New York this year and has international expansion plans.

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