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A Fresh Start for Indy Hall

Alex Hillman News Item

Alex Hillman

5 minute read

Nearly every day, we get emails and messages asking: “when is Indy Hall reopening for in person coworking?”

Today we have an update. The answer is…we don’t know.

What we DO know is that we are NOT reopening our space at 399 Market in Philadelphia.

Update for February 2022: We're back, baby!
Find us at our new fully-vaxxed community clubhouse.
More details here as we re-open in phases.

That said, we also are NOT going away. We are not “closing” and certainly not forever. As we’ve been reminded during the pandemic, Indy Hall is a people, not a place.

This is not the end, it’s a fresh start.

Since last year, our online coworking community has grown far beyond Philadelphia, and our new Summer Camp programming paves the way for even more deep connections online that we will continue to expand.

Simultaneously, our physical home has been stuck in limbo.

The last 15 months have been harrowing on so many levels. In addition to caring for our community, we’ve been working on several potential paths to recovery so we could reopen safely and sustainably.

Most of the potential paths ahead were not good.

Rushed timelines. Untenable debt. Compromises to our core values. Even bankruptcy.

Thankfully, we’ve found a resolution with our landlord that avoids all of the dead ends and worst case scenarios. One that avoids the complications of bankruptcy, while also giving us a fresh start.

So we chose the path that has a future.

While this best path forward involves the short term pain of moving out of our space, it grants us the ability to think and act long term. To do better, and for more people.

Perhaps most critically, we have time to figure out what a future in-person Indy Hall looks like after a year and a half of isolation. Time to understand what people in our community (existing and future members) want and need most. Time to co-create new versions of our in-person experience, borrowing lessons from the best of our past spaces and solving for the realities of being a freelancer, entrepreneur, or remote worker in Philadelphia in 2021 and beyond.

We will be together again soon.

It’s not without irony that this past week we’ve had the most people in our space since March 2020, as members have stopped by to pick up their belongings and offer a hand packing things up. Even with the space disassembled, it’s been a great reminder of how good it feels to be together in person.

The positive spirits and support from our community members is a perfect antidote for the mixed feelings of clearing out a space we’ve called home for the last 5 years just weeks before our 15th anniversary.

And it’s a reminder of how great it will feel to be together for a 16th anniversary. And a 20th. And a 25th. A 30th.

We aren’t done yet. No space has ever defined Indy Hall. Space is a tool, and a means to an end.

What kind of space best serves our community in the future? That’s what we get to figure out next.

Even better than a fresh start.

In sharing these changes with our community, I’ve compared our next steps to the idea of “New Game Plus” in which a video game lets the player go back to the beginning of the game for a replay while also carrying forward the abilities they’ve earned from their first play through.

Throughout our history, we’ve earned countless abilities. Relationships forged. Lessons learned. Perspectives altered. Our next moves are simultaneously unburdened AND we get to carry these lessons, relationships, and perspectives forward.

This has already proven itself true in how quickly we were able to coordinate a place to store our stuff while we figure out what’s next.

Want to co-host some coworking with our community?

Once we finish moving out and catch our breath, our next priority is exploring collaborations and partnerships for “pop-up” style coworking options with our community members.

This could be as simple as one-off coworking sessions in borrowed spaces, or deeper collaborations with communities, orgs, and people with whom we share goals and values.

If you’re interested in collaborating while we’re figuring out what’s next, including if you own/manage a space, drop me a line at I’d love to talk about how our sum could be greater than the parts.

Want to know what comes next?

Drop your name in the box below and we’ll keep you posted. Our list is low-traffic, and we’ll never share your email with anybody else.

Onward, together.

I look forward to a time in the near future when I can answer the question “when is Indy Hall reopening for in person coworking?” with an invitation to come spend a day (or more) working together.

That day will come soon.

Until then, endless gratitude to my team, who have been incredible though this whole thing, and to a list of community members longer than I can count who have helped in so many ways.

Of course, that gratitude includes the people who’ve shown up over the last couple of weeks to help us pack up the office in record time, but it also includes the entire community.

You are the voices of support and encouragement for each other (and us) in times of need; you are the hosts for daily coffee chats and D&D campaigns, and the stars of our weekly Show and Tell. Through the hardest year, you’ve trusted us to do the right thing, challenged us to do better when needed.

You are the reason for Indy Hall to exist!

It’s only possible because we aren’t doing it alone. Thank you.