James Kleeman is the Director of Emerge212, New York City’s premier operator of full-service office suites. With a background in real estate and hospitality management, Kleeman has evolved the business and its brand since 2005, helping shape Emerge212 into a solution for a wide range of entrepreneurs and industries.

In an interview with IVY Magazine, Kleeman talks about how Emerge212 is pushing the boundaries of office space to create unique environments that elevate a company’s image and reputation, while also meeting day-to-day operational needs, facilitating business evolution and growth, and providing robust technological support.

What is Emerge212? What problem does it aim to solve?

Inspired by the best in hospitality, design, and technology, Emerge212 works to service our clients with an elevated experience that other office space providers simply do not deliver. We provide businesses of all sizes and stages with truly thoughtful, beautiful spaces that represent the verve, style, and creativity that are innately New York.

Businesses have access to their own privately leased space, which can grow and contract based on their needs, while maintaining access to resources and amenities typically only afforded by large organizations.

Co-working has achieved widespread popularity over the past decade, and particularly in the past few years. How does Emerge212 differentiate itself in such a competitive space?

As pioneers in the growing co-working landscape, our brand promise has always been to provide what today’s companies need most. Since launching in 1999, we’ve continued to evolve our services to accommodate businesses’ ever-changing needs, incorporating cutting-edge design and technology.

Recent growth in the category signals that more business leaders recognize the value proposition of this model for new and growing businesses. For clients looking for space in a Class A building that is centrally-located, private, offers a sophisticated style and access to advanced tech and administrative support, and the flexibility to have their office space grow along with their business — Emerge212 provides all of these. We know our spaces provide a value when it comes to costs, and our expertise and framework is designed to allow businesses to focus on operating, not operations.

Bringing together the best in design and hospitality, we provide curated work environments that are equally stylish and functional, located in the heart of New York City with access to key transportation lines.

Who designs Emerge212’s spaces?

I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to drive property expansion and design for our locations, working hand-in-hand with my business partner, Alexandra Bogen, to concept each location with the modern entrepreneur in mind.

The design of each new space incorporates all that we continue to learn from Emerge212’s nearly 20 years serving entrepreneurs and small businesses. Building off these insights, we synthesize what creates the most value across the many businesses and industries our spaces cater to.

We draw inspiration from the hospitality industry in the design of each of our locations, bringing the best of service, style, and sophistication to each of our spaces through unique amenities, highly trained staff, and thoughtful design. Within our 1185 Sixth Avenue location, for example, we’ve incorporated subtle details that you would expect to find in a high-end hotel, versus an office space. With bold design elements including a floor-to-ceiling moss wall, luxurious fireplace, and modern-art inspired conference rooms, we strive to create spaces that encourage productivity while provoking creativity.

All elements of our office spaces are designed with our clients in mind – whether it be situating conference rooms near the reception area to accommodate easy access for key meetings with investors and state-of-the-art café areas complete with IT-outfitted tables and charging stations, or incorporating private spaces featuring noise-cancelling Bluetooth Beatnik Sound Station Chairs where employees can escape for a call or quietly become absorbed in their work.

What are three of your favorite features of your spaces in NYC?

My three favorite features would have to be the unique amenities we provide our clients at our individual locations; the clean and bright aesthetic that intentionally is designed to provide inspiration for innovation through its style; and most of all, the team! We are renowned for our cast of top level support staff that greets you with a smile each day and are truly happy to play a small part in the success of our clients’ businesses.

How do you expect the industry to evolve going forward?

Office space has become a key component of corporate culture and lifestyle, and both businesses and employees continue to have higher expectations for their space, which can no longer remain static and flat.

It’s critical to keep our finger on the pulse of how our clients work best in order to create the spaces and services that optimize their business, and I expect that we’ll continue to see the industry evolve towards being supported by increasingly sophisticated technology platforms and robust infrastructure, but within highly nimble spaces that offer more than desks and conference rooms.

Office space will continue to evolve to serve a wide array of purposes both for the business operation and, more importantly, for the employee/talent that drives the company. The younger generation doesn’t want to work the same way their parents did and don’t feel as though they should be forced into a boring office or cubicle and suffer through the day until it’s time to go home. I think the lines between personal lifestyle and work will fade, and office space will be an extension of the employees’ personal style and culture.

What is your greatest piece of advice to other entrepreneurs?

Don’t be too proud to ask for help and opinions. The entrepreneurs that pretend to know-it-all are the ones that don’t have the best or quickest success stories. It’s important to be committed to your own vision, but don’t underestimate the power of the people that surround you and the impact they can have on the decisions you make if you stay open-minded.

What message would you like to send out to IVY Members?

We so admire the people and especially New Yorkers that get up every morning and make an effort to make themselves and their respective industries just a little bit better.

We know that IVY Members share the desire of our current Emerge212 clientele to have an impact, and the curated spaces we offer can help take your business to the next level, as true partners in your growth and evolution.

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