How can I rent a cheap office in Boston or Cambridge?
August 9, 2006 11:56 AM   Subscribe

How can I rent two cheap offices in Boston or Cambridge? I'm on a budget, and am willing to be creative.

My fiancée and I are both graduate students in English literature at Harvard. We'd like to rent offices so that we can work on our dissertations in dedicated workspaces, like real workers. As I'm taking on a particularly big teaching load next year, I'll have some money to reinvest in office rental (probably, at most, four or five hundred dollars a month).

Ideally our office would be somewhere near Harvard or near our apartment in Beacon Hill--but it would be okay too if we had a short commute on the T. I'm open to renting offices in churches, renting extra offices from companies, or even renting a spare room in someone's (quiet) house and using it as an office. The main thing is that the office have space for a desk, some bookshelves, some piles, bulletin and white boards, etc. Even a cubicle, if it were cheap, would work.

Has anyone else done something like this? I am convinced that having an office will help me get my dissertation done sooner.
posted by josh to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered writer's spaces? I don't know of any specifically in your area but there must be some considering all the arts students (i used google for the link); it seems like you can find a nice place with all the cable internet you desire for around $100/mo.
posted by shownomercy at 12:05 PM on August 9, 2006

At both Cornell and Stanford there are glorified carrels for rent in some of the main libraries; they're lockable, which makes a big difference. Have you asked around with library folks to see if something similar exists at Harvard? I feel like it must exist _somewhere_ on that campus.
posted by metaculpa at 12:06 PM on August 9, 2006

Look into art studio spaces. These tend to be commercial rentals with small square footage and plenty of light, and are plentiful in industrial areas around McGrath Highway in Somerville and north of Boston.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 12:07 PM on August 9, 2006

Techspace Boston.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:30 PM on August 9, 2006 [1 favorite]

You could probably find a two-bedroom apartment for $800-$1k/mo, no? Just use the bedrooms as offices.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:20 PM on August 9, 2006

I'm on a budget, and am willing to be creative.

Put up posters or hand out fliers in the target area saying that you'll pay to work in someone's home on that block while that person is away at their day job. If you're in and out mainly while they're away at work, you're a low burden to them and so could ask a low price. Someone short of cash might be glad to set aside a room for you, though you might have to bring in your own white board and stuff.
posted by pracowity at 1:33 PM on August 9, 2006


$800-$1000/month for a 2BR apartment in Cambridge?


You're not from here, are you. :)

My girlfriend and I just settled (today, yay!!) on a pleasant but non-extravagant 2BR in Cambridgeport, no amenities, for $1800/month. We're gonna use one BR as a study; can't wait.

$1000 isn't unthinkable but very, very not fucking likely. I was gonna suggest it too but on two grad student salaries, no way.

Perhaps renting a small part of the floor of an office building? Or a tiny loft somewhere? (Ditto Saucy, in other words.) Or a single room in a large apartment/house, via craigslist?
posted by waxbanks at 1:39 PM on August 9, 2006

I've recently heard about Arts at the Armory in Somerville which may work. It may also be worth checking out the Boston Center for the Arts, Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, and other city art centers. They often have offices that they rent out. Watertown just built a brand new arts center, too.
posted by jdl at 2:00 PM on August 9, 2006

You could probably find a two-bedroom apartment for $800-$1k/mo, no? Just use the bedrooms as offices

I pay $900/month for a one bedroom in Harvard Square, so no, he probably will not.

That said, you don't need a 2 bedroom, you only need a 1 bedroom - one of you uses the bedroom, one the living/dining room, and you have a bathroom and kitchen for your use.

(Josh, I might find myself in your position in a year or two. If you find a good solution, please post about it here or drop me an email and let me know!)
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 2:57 PM on August 9, 2006

Craigslist is the first place I'd look. Stuff around Beacon Hill or Harvard would assumedly be more expensive. I friend of mine rents a cube somewhere in an office in Davis Square, and seems quite happy with the arrangement.

And while I'm here, let me plug the upcoming boston meetup.
posted by enfa at 7:50 PM on August 16, 2006

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