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Downtown St. Petersburg gets another coworking space

Margie Manning



Novel Coworking bought the Synovus Bank building at 333 3rd Ave. N. in downtown St. Petersburg.

Novel Coworking has bought the Synovus Bank building in downtown St. Petersburg.

Novel, a coworking company, plans to renovate the five-story, 53,106-square-foot building at 333 3rd Ave. N. as a modern and affordable workspace, with private offices, technology-enhanced private suites and coworking memberships.

“Located at the heart of downtown and within walking distance of businesses, city offices, and arts and entertainment, this building is an ideal location for a coworking center that will fuel downtown St. Petersburg’s tremendous economic growth,” Bill Bennett, founder and CEO of Novel Coworking, said in a news release. “We are thrilled to serve the city’s small businesses as well as enterprise companies with the modern, technology-equipped space they deserve to run their business.”

Synovus Bank, the previous owner of the building, will continue to operate in the building.

“We are leasing back the branch space on the first floor and some additional office space,” said Lee Underwood, a spokesman for Synovus. “Nothing will change for customers and employees.”

Novel paid $6.9 million for the property, according to a deed filed Wednesday in Pinellas County. Novel took out a mortgage for $8.225 million from Bank OZK, county records show.

Novel, based in Chicago, is the most recent entrant into the area’s coworking sector. WorkLodge, based in Houston, Texas, expects to open a 28,000-square-foot flexible workspace site at 136 4th St. N. this spring. Station House has announced plans for coworking spaces at Sundial St. Pete and at Edge Collective, a mixed-use development in the EDGE District. Tampa Bay Innovation Center and Rising Tide Innovation Center also offer coworking space.

Related story: The Work Around

Novel said it provides fully-furnished, technology-equipped and affordable workspace to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and enterprise companies. The company has more than 3 million square feet of workspace in 37 locations.

By owning the buildings where it operates, Novel said it can invest in infrastructure improvements including fiber internet and custom-built suites for up to 500-person teams. In 2019, the company debuted “SmartSuites,” which are technology-enhanced private suites which feature a combination of private offices and collaborative open space, dedicated kitchen and conference room facilities, and integrated technologies such as Alexa-enabled sound system and biometric keypad entry.

Members at the St. Petersburg site will get 24/7 building access, a coworking lounge, direct fiber internet, all utilities, an espresso bar, local beer on tap, modern furnishings and community events included in rent. Monthly coworking memberships cost $179 a month, private offices start at $675 a month and office suites start at $350 per employee a month.

Bennett founded Novel in 2013 and the company was profitable within a year, a January report in Yahoo Finance said.

The privately owned company has raised $654 million in funding, according to financial data company PitchBook.

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