Eye-watering rents and a burgeoning startup culture are driving the market for co-working space in Luxembourg. But it wasn’t always the case, says Gosia Kramer, who quit a job in banking and opened The Office in an old garage in Grand Duchess Charlotte in 2016.
“I originally wanted to create a fintech startup,” Kramer says, explaining that she trawled the then limited coworking spaces to find people with the skills to create a personal finance monitoring platform. If she didn’t find the right people, she did hit on a new idea. Kramer put in the back work to convert the garage into a quirky, loft-like office and café, which is today home to a diverse mix of startups and complementary activities such as a Toastmasters club, yoga and coaching.
“The diversity is the strong point of the office,” she says, adding that the second-hand furniture and recycled fixtures and fittings bring an authentic edge and character that adds to the attraction of the eco-system.
Photo: Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne. Inside The Office City
The Office “City”
With The Office “Charlotte” now at capacity, the entrepreneur is doing it all over again, this time in a former library on boulevard Prince Henri, a stone’s throw from Hamilius.
“It was standing empty for ten years. The owners were a Luxembourg couple who decided to rent to me because they wanted something special,” she explains.
Kramer teamed up with Paris-based Manufacture du Design to fill the spacious “City” office with modern, acoustic furniture. The colourful office is three times the size of Charlotte, offering 120-150 work stations, among which are 16 private offices, and a large conference room with capacity for 100 people. What is also useful for startups is that they can register their businesses headquarters to the space, where they might have been previously registered at home and not benefited from being part of a startup community.
“The Office City couldn’t have opened at a better time than now. What I’m seeing in the market is that the number of entrepreneurs is growing so quickly,” says Kramer.
Tenants, meanwhile, benefit from the same low pricing mode in the “City” space as if they were at “Charlotte”, impressive considering the cost of rents in the central business district.
Photo: Jan Hanrion/Maison Moderne. The Office City offers three times the amount of space they had at Charlotte.
“The renovations almost killed me. I love the transformation, and the work in progress, but on big jobs like this, my funding is limited,” Kramer says. Fortunately, for her the third space, in Wiltz, will require less work.
“We’re missing coworking spaces on the Belgian border,” the entrepreneur explains, adding: “We will provide a solution for people so that they don’t have to drive to Luxembourg City every day.” If they do need to be in the capital, tenants can also benefit from access to the other two coworking spaces.
Two years on from her first project, Kramer reflects that although Luxembourg is “very late on the movement”, coworking is finally gaining ground.
“I’m happy there are other players on the market because together we raise the place of coworking,” she says.