Dan McLean admits to a lot of sleepless nights over the past several weeks.
Even as people were urged to work from home to slow the spread of COVID-19, McLean was completing construction of WorkLodge, a flexible workspace site in downtown St. Petersburg.
He wasn’t sure how people would feel about returning to a workspace site, but “the conversations we have had make me feel good about our space,” said McLean, one of the partners who owns and operates the WorkLodge franchise in St. Petersburg.
WorkLodge offers private offices, coworking space, conference rooms and other common areas, and occupies about 28,000 square feet on the second and third floors of the building at 136 4th St. N. The facility currently is having a soft opening, with construction completed on the second floor and still underway on the third floor. The company also is working on some projects with local artists that are not yet finished. McLean expects to have a grand opening in August.
Scroll down for a gallery of photos of the WorkLodge facility.
The second floor is the base for a WorkLodge concierge team that greets all members and guests. All of the conference rooms also are there, including a large 30-person training room, as well as a kitchen and break area.
One of the shifts WorkLodge made because of the pandemic is to put more emphasis on private offices, with room for between one and 12 people, and less on coworking space. Coworking space is available under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.
“We pulled apart tables to make sure there’s a six-foot distance between open coworking space. We’ve got our concierge team cleaning those spaces on a regular basis to make sure we are staying safe,” McLean said.
People are starting to feel a pinch from working at home and looking for places to get away, McLean said, citing his own work from home experience over the past few weeks. His wife also was working from home, and his son was at home attending school remotely.
“The minute we got our space up and functioning, I was so excited to have a place to come to, an office to sit in and get on conference calls and focus on work,” he said. “I think everyone is looking for something different from the work from home space now, and we’ve got the space so I say we use it.”
WorkLodge is a Houston, Texas-based company that announced plans to open its St. Petersburg office, its first office outside of Texas, about a year ago. The company sold a handful of leases prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, then went silent during the outbreak as construction finished. Since the space received a certificate of occupancy a couple of weeks ago, the company is starting to market itself again.
Under a partnership with the St. Petersburg Greenhouse, WorkLodge has given away office space to some startups, and coworking space to graduates of the Entrepreneurial Academy.
“Right now we have more non-paying members in our space than we have paying members, but we’re of the mindset right now that we all need each other. People need a space to get out and work and we have an awesome space that enables us to give back to the community,” he said.
The company has launched “WorkLodge Workcation,” offering daily and weekly passes. Although not part of the company’s regular business model, the passes offer an option to try out the space for a short period of time.
WorkLodge joins several other shared workspace locations in downtown St. Petersburg, including Station House, the Tampa Bay Innovation Center and Rising Tide Innovation Center. Novel Coworking is expected to open in the fall.
WorkLodge has priced itself competitively for a premium experience, McLean said. Single private offices start at $600, an all-inclusive price that also offers parking for a limited time in an adjacent parking garage.