Argent will this week launch a free drop-in office aimed at freelancers and small companies at the Hive in Manchester's Northern Quarter.
The Hive on Lever Street totals 80,000 sq ft and is around half empty. Tenants include the Arts Council and event venue the Studio. The free office, called the Classroom, opens on Thursday and will be based in 1,400 sq ft on the ground floor next to the newly opened Bakerie Tasting Store. Members who join the Classroom will have to pre-book the space as and when they need it.
Angela Fielding of Argent said: "We've decided to set up the Classroom at the Hive to create a new space for people to use as a drop-in office. It can be used for a quick catch-up on work in between meetings in Manchester city centre or a spot for freelancers and small companies to use as an extension of their own office. There's so many ways to use the Classroom and it's our way of helping to support young, growing companies based in the Northern Quarter and other parts of Manchester."
Digital media complex the Sharp Project in east Manchester also recently launched a membership service for students and visitors, on a paid-for basis starting at £80 a year.
Developers Allied London and Ask Developments are also eyeing the more flexible, smaller office user for their next buildings at Spinningfields and First Street, both in Manchester, as the market anticipates a new era without many large corporate lettings.
The walls of Argent's Classroom are also available to artists who would like to exhibit their work; the first exhibitor is local digital artist Andrew Brooks. Special sessions will also be held in the Classroom to help members connect and work together.
Visit www.theclassroom-mcr.co.uk for further details and to register.