WorkLodge will open a 28,000-square-foot flexible workspace site in downtown St. Petersburg this fall.
The site, at 136 4th St. N., will have both coworking and private office space and be large enough to accommodate 80 to 90 businesses, said Dan McLean, speaking on the St. Pete Catalyst’s Startup Report. McLean is one of the partners who will own and operate the WorkLodge franchise in St. Petersburg.
Expected to open in October, the St. Pete WorkLodge will be the first outside of Texas for the Houston-based company.
“As you have all these startups coming to St. Pete to start their dreams and their businesses, we get to be that place where they can go when they want to grow up, to establish roots and belong to the downtown community,” McLean said.
The new site comes amid a push for more office space in downtown St. Pete. Coworking, in which is one solution to an office shortage. An August 2018 report from Cushman & Wakefield estimated there are more than 200 coworking companies nationwide. While coworking currently accounts for about 1 percent of total office inventory, Cushman & Wakefield expects the sector to triple in size and represent between 5 percent and 10 percent of inventory in many markets.
“I think coworking is absolutely the future of commercial real estate for anybody other than large enterprises that want to take full floors,” Mike Thakur, founder and CEO of WorkLodge, told the Catalyst.
While many people think of coworking as an alternative for people working from home, and as a temporary short-term business model, that’s not the case at WorkLodge, Thakur said.
“Although we do obviously sometimes help people who have been working from home, the majority of our members are real established companies, small or mid-sized, that are growing and value the flexibility and the scalability that our locations provide them,” Thakur said. “We also have larger companies that need to place a remote team somewhere, and they don’t want to deal with facilities issues of signing a long lease and the timeframes involved, when they can walk into a WorkLodge, plug in, and have their team operational in 15 minutes.”
St. Pete has existing coworking spaces including Station House, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center and Rising Tide Innovation Center. There’s strong speculation in the real estate community that WeWork, the largest coworking company in the U.S. with two locations planned in Tampa, also is negotiating a lease in a downtown St. Pete office tower.
WorkLodge in St. Pete, in leased space on the second and third floors of an office building that’s adjacent to The Greenhouse and across the street from Williams Park, will have about 3,000 square feet for coworking, with tables, chairs and private alcoves, and about 18,000 square feet for private offices. The private offices will range in size, small enough for a single person to large enough for a team of 20 or 30 workers. It also will have about 1,500 square feet of event space, and conference rooms for the businesses that are members as well as the community.
WorkLodge is membership-based, with a one-person office typically costing about $600 to $700 a month. The specific prices for the St. Pete location have not yet been determined, McLean said. Agreements typically last for one to three years, although WorkLodge can accommodate shorter terms.
WorkLodge spaces are home to a wide range of businesses.
“We purposefully try to curate our spaces to not go above a certain percentage of any one industry because we value that diversity. And we see through interactions with our members that they do better when we give them other people and different kinds of people to visit with,” Thakur said.
Thakur also designs each WorkLodge with custom-made furniture and high-quality office chairs.
“We sweat over the small details and we care about them because collectively they make a big difference,” Thakur said. “We’ll deliver a Mercedes Benz level of product, but we’ll deliver it at Ford pricing.”
WorkLodge is currently planning the space and laying out floor plans, so interested businesses with specific needs should get in touch with McLean.