Talent Garden shuts down Coworking Space in Vienna

Talent Garden in Vienna. © Talent Garden
Talent Garden in Vienna. © Talent Garden
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According to its slogan, it was a „place for explorers and innovators“ – and will no longer be open. The Talent Garden coworking space in Vienna, which belongs to an Italian and internationally active chain, terminated the contracts of its tenants and members – corporates, start-ups and freelancers – with immediate effect on Wednesday evening. Around 150 people in the six-storey building in Vienna’s 9th district are affected. They were told to vacate the building by midnight tonight, Thursday. Talent Garden is advising tenant companies to relocate and set up forwarding orders for the post office.

„Despite immense effort from the local team and the group, that allowed us to build and nurture an amazing community, we found ourselves forced to close the coworking area in Vienna due to issues with the facility. The latest happenings were the last straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak“, said Irene Boni, CEO of Talent Garden, in an interview with Trending Topics. Two weeks ago the coworking space was closed due to water damage after heavy rain. Previously, there were said to have been repeated problems with the building and disputes with the landlord.

The Talent Garden was vacated by large and small companies, and employees of local companies and freight forwarders were busy hauling boxes on Thursday. Many are moving, at least temporarily, to alternative coworking spaces in Vienna.

As reported, the coworking space has been closed since 7th May due to water damage, while members have been redirected to other coworking spaces in Vienna such as The Social Hub, Startup House, WeXelerate or CoWerk. Until now, some were still expecting the office building to reopen after repairs had been carried out, but it is now clear that Talent Garden will remain closed and members could only return until Thursday, midnight, to collect their belongings.

„Unacceptable condition of the building“

The reason given in an email from the management, which is available to Trending Topics, is: „The termination was issued due to the unacceptable condition of the building (we currently have over 28 degrees Celsius in the building and humidity of over 50%) and took immediate effect. During yesterday’s site inspection with a court-appointed expert and the landlord, it became clear that this condition will not be remedied so quickly (the next site inspection by the court-appointed expert is in two weeks‘ time). The landlord is not willing or able to put the building in the agreed condition, so we are now forced to take this measure,“ it says. The landlord is the Rainer Group, which, in addition to real estate, is also active in the car, motorcycle and scooter trade as well as the hotel industry.

The tenancy agreements would end „with immediate effect“, and existing tenants were given until Thursday evening at 11:59 pm (sic!) to remove equipment and other items from the building. Anyone unwilling or unable to do so will have to rely on their belongings being taken to a self-storage facility in Vienna Floridsdorf. The costs for this storage would be covered for one month, including relocation support.

The City of Vienna supported Talent Garden’s establishment of a location in Vienna many years ago. As part of the „Vienna Start-up Initiative 2016“, Talent Garden received €146,000 in funding. startup300, a startup investor, later acquired a 10.3 percent stake in Viennese company. Economically, things are unlikely to have gone well: The balance sheet as at December 31, 2022 showed a net loss of EUR 2.564 million (including a loss carryforward of EUR 2.034 million).

While some hubs like in Italy or Spain are really buzzing, hubs in other countries are also reportedly not running smoothly. Talent Garden, which has opened campuses in 13 countries, has also noticed that the difficult economic situation in Europe with high inflation and high interest rates is making the operation of rented coworking spaces more difficult.

A line is now being drawn under the Viennese chapter of the coworking space. But Talent Garden does not want to leave Austria completely.  „We will remain in Austria for the time being, focusing on Education, both for students and for corporates, building on the successes of the past such as the UX course done in partnership with AMS“, says CEO Boni, who came to Vienna in person to oversee the closing of the hub. „We are now a startup again.“


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