The 33,000-square-foot brick warehouse at 58 Kent Street used to be a place where workers made physical objects — pencils — with materials that came in from the Greenpoint docks a block away. But 142 years and one extremely 2010s renovation later, the place became the headquarters of Kickstarter, a company that helped people who make things raise money to make them. The office was stuffed with perks meant to lure millennials: arcade games, dog-friendly policies, a roof garden, endless snacks. But then the pandemic hit, execs opted to stay remote, and the office went up for sale. (Last asking price: $25 million.)
Now, the building appears to have a new owner. Fast Company reported that talent agency Whalar has bought 58 Kent as one of three locations for its creator “campuses.” Each will be branded the Lighthouse (others are planned for London and Venice, California). There are zero Virginia Woolf references but at least one connection to the college campuses where To the Lighthouse is required reading: It requires a four-year commitment and a fee — around $5,750 a year. Members will get to use what Kickstarter employees wouldn’t come back to the office for: the library, the small theater, private offices, and studios with audio and video equipment. Early sketches show the kitchen has been rebranded as a “coffee shop.” (Whalar didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Sharing quick takes online used to be the preferred profession of people who didn’t want to commute. But Whalar says the business has changed: 95 percent of the content creators it has signed to its talent agency are full time, and a fifth have an employee.
But not just any influencer can walk in. First, they’ll have to be selected by a “creator council,” co-chaired by two YouTubers and a pair of podcasters who have built their brand out of interviewing other creators: Colin Rosenblum and Samir Chaudry. The members-only model seems designed to prevent one of the major problems with hype houses: renting spaces to people incentivized to trash them.