Livestream to occupy 3rd Ward

Cancer Ward: Shuttered W’burg art center regulars blame closure on greed
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

An internet company that helped the Occupy Wall Street movement broadcast its every move to the world is moving into the Williamsburg space formerly home to a do-it-yourselfer center that closed abruptly in October.

The Poindexters at Livestream, whose service allows anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection to blast a live video feed to as many people as care to watch, will move its headquarters into the industrial space where 3rd Ward shuttered suddenly in the fall, leaving craftspeople and teachers in the lurch. Livestream will make the move in June and, in addition to serving as a headquarters for the 80-employee tech company, the facility will host Livestream-run classes like the ones previously offered at 3rd Ward.

“It could end up being a huge center of education with people here and online in a variety of subjects,” said Livestream chief executive officer Max Haot.

The company is moving to the four-story brick structure on Morgan Avenue between Meadow and Stagg streets from an office in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. Google recently purchased the company’s old digs and Haot said he knew the lease would not be renewed. But Haot moved to the industrial Brooklyn neighborhood not long ago and said it was a perfect fit for the culture of his company.

“I loved the area and there is so much creativity and so many artistic entrepreneurs,” he said. “We want to be a part of that.”

The exec had spent more than two years looking for a suitable space in Williamsburg and Greenpoint before he went to dinner with his wife at Fitzcarraldo, a restaurant in the building, two months ago and had his eureka moment.

The Livestream headquarters will be on the second floor of the structure and Haot will keep the classrooms that Third Ward built and will put them to use.

Initially, Haot considered offering just classes in live video, but then he realized he could expand the company repertoire and offer courses in all kinds of arts.

“I want to invite back the teachers who worked at Third Ward and experiment with having these classes here and rebuilding this community,” he said.The twist, predictably, is that Haot wants to set up video streams of the workshops for people to view online.

The company is not sure yet exactly how the classes will work. It could offer free classes for the students on site and charge remote pupils or vice versa, he said.

Some former 3rd Ward members and teachers say they are cautiously optimistic about Livestream’s plan.

“It sounds great, but I would like to see what value will be returned to the community versus what helps the company,” said Robin Gleason, a former 3rd Ward instructor who tried to organize spurned thing-makers after Third Ward went under.

Livestream plans to add 10 positions after it moves. Fitzcarraldo will serve up meals to hungry Livestream staffers during the day and open as a regular restaurant during nights and weekends, Haot said.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.