Bryce Ebel was new to the Tampa-St. Pete area, a transplant from New York, when he decided to give Station House in downtown St. Petersburg a try.
He liked it so much that he tracked down Steve Gianfilippo, owner of Station House, and the pair ended up joining forces.
Ebel is now a director and partner, overseeing operations at both Station House and at Hyde House, the company’s new coworking/gathering space in Hyde Park Village in Tampa. In addition to flexible cowork space and private offices, the 30,000-square-foot Tampa facility will include a test kitchen where guests can hold private cooking events, a professional photography studio, a fitness and wellness room, an auditorium that can seat 120 people and event space for up to 350 people. The Ichicoro team, which has Ichicoro Imoto at Armature Works and Ichicoro ANE at Station House, will manage event operations in the Village.
“We like to call it amenities with office. We’re amenity driven and we happen to have office space,” Gianfilippo said. “It’s taken five years for the term cowork in sink in and for people to understand it. Now, five years later, it’s evolved into something else – a gathering place, a lifestyle, not just shared office space. We want to have all the amenities that are available and that make work not so boring anymore.”
It’s a natural fit for Ebel, with more than 15 years’ experience running operations, sales and marketing at Bathhouse Studios. Bathhouse is a prominent photography, video and event studio in Manhattan. Ebel has provided services to clients that include Nike, Apple, Bergdorf Goodman, Victoria Beckham, Balenciaga and Lamborghini.
Ebel and his wife wanted to relocate to a place that provided a better living experience, and they landed in the Tampa-St. Pete area. He was working from home but wanted to be more engaged in the community.
When he discovered Station House, Ebel said, “I saw it was exactly what I was looking for, a way for creatives to come together in one room. To be able to collaborate out of the same space with amenities was a perfect match for what I do.”
Ebel cold-called Gianfilippo, who was apprehensive but returned the call.
“I was impressed when I started talking to him and realized he had 15 years of experience dealing with studios in New York,” Gianfilippo said. “That’s what we’ve been working on for so long, to have someone come here and validate that we’re a cool area and we have cool things to do.”
The two talked for a couple of months, working on strategies together, before Ebel officially joined the company in April.
“I respect his advice. A lot of ideas when we started Station House came from concepts in New York such as SoHo House and Gramercy Park Hotel,” Gianfilippo said. “I brought him in as a partner to facilitate the opening of location in Tampa and also to grow the connection between Tampa and St. Pete.”
The Tampa-St. Pete area has a key characteristic lacking in bigger places like New York, Ebel said.
“What I have found is that people are more willing to be collaborative instead of being competitive. People are not saying, this person could steal my job or take my client. They are saying, how can we work together for the greater good of creating more work for both businesses,” he said.
That echoes the observations that Steve Case, chairman and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based venture capital firm Revolution, made about the area during last week’s Rise of the Rest tour. Rise of the Rest, an initiative to focus on startups outside the nation’s major tech hubs, kicked off its visit to the area with a breakfast at Station House.
Hyde House will occupy part of the first floor and the entire second floor of the newly constructed H block building above retail tenants Meat Market, Bonobos, Clean Juice, and Soul-Cycle. There will be 65 private offices and about 350 coworking memberships. Founding membership rates including a $1,000 annual coworking membership, while office suites begin at $650 per month.
The space was quietly marketed to families and friends, and about one-fourth of the coworking members are filled, and about 40 percent to 50 percent of the private offices are leased, Ebel said. He expects to fill up quickly, now that a public marketing push is underway.