Having heard that The Foundry had opened their new space in City East on the Newtownards Road, Belfast – right on the edge of the Titanic Quarter – I stopped off after a morning’s training to work for the afternoon on a Sensei client deadline. I had to sort through screenshots, edit and add them to technical documentation for a client. As someone who works from home when possible, I didn’t really have time to travel home first, so it was perfect to have somewhere to plug in and get started on my project as soon as possible.
How to Get There & Parking
When travelling to events at City East, where The Foundry is situated, I often go by train (get off at Titanic Quarter) and walk back down the dual carriageway toward the city (10-minute walk). Yesterday, I took a taxi from the city centre (£4.60).
There is no parking available on site (unless for events after normal office hours), though you could try your chances in the residential streets nearby.
Space and Facilities
The Foundry has everything you might want by way of facilities in a coworking space:
- generous-sized kitchen with free tea and coffee (so welcome, as I was dying to grab a cup of tea and dive into my salad box!)
- bright, open coworking area with 3-4 banks of desks (one of which is in its own nook and two of which looked like they might enable those who prefer a standing desk), powerpoints and ergonomic chairs
- writeable paint on the walls – a brainstormer’s dream
- relaxing nook filled with sofas, armchairs and coffee tables
- glass-walled meeting rooms (I think I saw two)
- multiple small offices cleverly designed with glass walls that open onto the coworking area, meaning light flows from the windows in the outer walls right into the centre
- loos thoughtfully complete with hand cream, deodorant and hooks for bags – a mindbogglingly rare feature, but essential for somewhere that caters for the laptop bag-schlepper
If decor’s your thing, the space has an awesome polished(?) or painted concrete floor with the uber-cool unfinished look. It went well with the bright paintwork, modern desks and exposed ceiling services.
While I was there (3.5 hours), I meet at least three people who had taken an office: a Lean-In coordinator, a digital marketing professional and a couple of others who said hi. It was cool that almost everyone made an effort to come over and say hello. It’s great to have lovely facilities, but to be honest, the people make the space. (I’ve been to several fairly nice spaces where I had to employ a crowbar to extract anything beyond a fleeting nod from the residents.)
I even met a few friendly builders, who were installing some lighting while I was there, though the facilities looked completely finished to me. And, the staff who welcomed me from the front door, one of whom stayed late so that I could stay until my lift arrived, were especially cordial.
I’m not sure how long it lasts, but my visit fell under the category of a trial (free). Otherwise, prices are as follows:
- Desk hire: £5 + VAT per hour
- Desk hire: £25 + VAT per day
- 24/7 access: £130 + VAT
While it seems like a drop-in (as I did) type of place, I’d recommend you call beforehand to ensure there’s a free desk.
You can find out more at The Foundry.
Image credit: geograph.