Ari Meisel lives in a 4,000-square foot loft in a four-family co-op building in Soho—he also operates several green buildings, consulting and real estate businesses from the comfort of his own unit. He has lived in this building for his entire life, renovating the loft to accommodate his growing business. He holds meetings and occasional gatherings there, like the speaker event he once had with 30 guests. And in case you’re wondering, Meisel says his neighbors and the board don’t mind one bit.
According to the 2000 Census, there were 90,580 New Yorkers, like Meisel, who worked from home. And thanks to improved computer technology and the ever-changing economic and work landscape, that number has certainly grown exponentially in the interim decade. Factor in the past year, with layoffs, downsizing and cost-cutting, and still more people are either working from home or starting their own businesses.
Not Always Easy
Although Meisel was fortunate to have a long-term relationship in his building and the board and neighbors understood, there can be challenges between residents, staff and management when residents want to work out of their apartment.
Lynn Whiting, director of management at The Argo Corporation in Manhattan remembers one tenant—a voice coach—who chose to run her business out of her unit. She was in compliance with all zoning requirements, but management asked her to cease the business anyway after receiving noise complaints from other residents.
“The tenants had an objection because they could hear the lessons and the piano,” says Whiting. “It’s not that it wasn’t a permitted use, it’s just that it was objectionable to other tenants so the board had to stop it.”