The story begins three years ago, when we started getting out of space in our office. It was loud, computer desks were everywhere and there was almost literally no space (it’s almost the same situation today, though). We began looking for a new office - but, believe it or not, we don’t have any office buildings in our city. Well, we do have one, but during that time, we had to invest in a new floor level, so it wasn’t a good solution for us.
We were exploring at least a dozen of potential offices, but each of them had something that bugged us a lot - the most common problem was, of course, their size. They were too small for us. Than the magic happened. During the office hunting period, we found and rented a small flat in our current building. We have renovated it, so we have got a little bit of space - but we knew that it was just a temporary solution. So we kept our eyes open.
Shortly afterward an idea came to our minds - why don’t we build our own office?
It started to grow
I know that a lot of people think investing in an office building is stupid, because IT business is transforming every year. They are right, but a new possibility came almost out of nowhere.
There is a foundation called Prosperitati (check out their website for more information). Long story short: the Hungarian government supports some projects in our country. At this time, we didn’t know the whats and the hows, but we have started preparing ideas.
Out of nowhere, again, I had a meeting with another agency from our city because of a shared project and I’ve told them about our plans. They have told me: let’s do it together! I was shocked, but happy at the same time. Our little dream has started to grow - let’s build an IT center! Let’s try to find more IT business from our city to unite our power and build something amazing.
Shortly afterward, we have found our third teammate. I remember that day, we met because of a potential Drupal project, after having a talk about it, they said that they are looking for a new office space. I couldn’t believe it.
Happiness = productivity
I was very, very, very happy at the time. I knew that this was only the beginning, but at the same time, I also knew that no matter what and no matter how hard this is going to be, we are going to succeed.
The idea was to make a huge office building, so every company can have its own office space, plus, we have planned some shared areas for chilling, meetings and a kitchen. We wanted to build a modern building with some hi-tech features, but, most importantly - to have a great working environment. It is also important for us to have a beautiful garden with a lot of green spots, to be family-friendly with some space for kids.
We also want to share the building with the IT community for free - we want meetups, conferences and educations to be held there after work hours and on weekends.
We have gotten legal documents for the construction. The Prosperitati foundation has finally published the project which we could apply for. We have won amongst almost two hundred other companies. Big thanks to Prosperitati! We needed to pay 25% of the project costs upfront, Prosperitati is giving us 35% - funds that we do not need to return - and the rest 40% is a subsidized bank loan with only 1% interest rate. So, why not investing in own building?
We have worked a lot on building’s design and functionality. Our biggest help is my sister who’s an architect (you can find her on LinkedIn). She uses her free time to help us shape our future office and she did an exceptional job until now. She made the overall design of the building and now she’s working on interior and garden areas. You can see the attached images at the end of this post.
Coming up with a name for the building was not easy, but in the end - we have come up with Digital Hive because that’s exactly what we have wanted - a busy IT office with a lot of talented, passionate and hard-working people who create exceptional digital products.
Two weeks ago, we finally got the funds, the land was prepared and the construction started. The plan is to move in until spring, but we will see. Anyhow - our dream is on its way to becoming a reality.
Thanks for reading. I will update this blog post monthly with images from construction, so make sure to check it out again soon.
These are some initial 3D renders, we still have to plan a lot, but the result will be something like these:
2018 July, building process started, terrain cleaned, the building base is ready
2018 August - growing
In the period from September to December, the building got his final size. We have all the walls, roof, windows and also the heating is ready. We are very proud.
Now it is Christmas time, time to rest a little, but in a couple of days, the construction will continue.
2019 January - March
Definitely the hardest three months of the project, but I think the next two month will be insane too.
You know, when the construction company just build the walls, the roof, we could just say oh, yeah that is good or that is nice, but now, everybody has 2-3 questions a day.
We need to decide various things daily what we even did not know to exists till then. It is challenging, but the result will be good.
As I see now we have a lot to do, again a lot to decide and a lot to learn. In this point, I am not sure if we could keep our internal deadline, to move-in in May, but we will see. The good thing is, that the insulation and external paint will be ready in two weeks, also in a month the electricity and the heating/cooling installations need to be finished. Last week a team started to install tiles in bathrooms. So the situation is not bad.