In the Lower East Side of Manhattan, there are around 200 storefronts that are left unused. At the same time, there are many entrepreneurs and small enterprises that could make temporary use of those spaces to grow their businesses. miLES is a new project that aims to provide the tools to help anyone transform those empty spaces into working venues that change on a regular basis.
The startup has created a ‘storefront transformer’, which consists of a 6-foot cube of modular components that can be assembled as furniture and structural elements of each space as it is needed. The team has also struck up deals with local property owners to help open up spaces such as bar backrooms and utilise the closed hours of coffee shops and offices. miLES – which stands for Made in the Lower East Side – has already teamed up with seven startups and community businesses and will showcase the project in November and December, when the empty space will turn into a miniature museum, educational classroom, nonprofit HQ and restaurant. The startup aims to offer usage of its spaces on a daily basis, hopefully being able to offer more stable weekly and monthly residencies once it has grown. The video below explains more about the project:
Having successfully reached its Kickstarter goal in the last few days, miLES has raised enough money to fund the incubation of more than 50 new pop-up businesses in the year to come. How else can unused facilities be transformed into positive and dynamic community assets?