Innovative rentals: New London office space by the hour

New London - A city-based nonprofit is offering to provide downtown office space to local startups, artists and civic groups for a nominal fee in four-hour blocks.

Thames Valley Sustainable Connections Inc., whose mission is to promote community vitality and sustainable economics in the region, is hosting an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. July 1 to show off the space at 102 Golden St., where the program called Innovative Spaces will be launched.

The building, across from Monte Cristo Book Shop, serves as headquarters for the nonprofit but is underutilized. In keeping with the organization's philosophy of promoting local businesses and making sure nothing goes to waste, it came up with the idea of renting the 750-square-foot space, which includes two desks, a conference table, refrigerator, microwave, water cooler, wi-fi, teleconferencing center and coffeemaker.

"We figured we have this space - let's use it to the max," said Ronna Stuller, a board member for Sustainable Connections who is coordinating the project.

Cost of the four-hour rental: $25.

Art Costa, president and chief executive of the organization, said the space has been used to hold workshops and even for a few weeks was rented by the Green Party.

He said it could be a perfect spot for a startup business that is trying to move to the next level by conducting formal presentations to clients without having to go to the expense of renting office space on a monthly basis. He also said promoting Innovative Spaces will be a good way to promote the city and its various amenities, since the space is close to a transportation hub, municipal offices and the business district.

"We see a synergy throughout the city with different businesses that need space for a short period of time," he said.

The organization, which has been involved in helping revive the Hodges Square business district and sponsors the city farmers markets among other projects, will use the rental income to help continue its work, which includes the business alliance known as New London Local First.

Renters are pre-screened and must pre-pay for the space, but hours are flexible and can include mornings, afternoons, evenings or even weekends.

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