The opportunity to reimagine the future of work has never been stronger, leading real estate services firm JLL said in a recent report.
“Work from anywhere is the only path forward,” it said.
Well, if you can work from anywhere, how about working from the “Heart of Houston” — the Spring Branch Management District?
Shared workspace Urban Office, a Braun Enterprises venture, opens at Spring Branch Village on Monday, July 19.
“Our overarching mission is to reinvent the office space, through creating a post-COVID friendly environment where small businesses can thrive once again in the office,” said Urban Office Vice President Alec Lapin.
Urban Office, 8215 Long Point Rd., is the latest shared, flexible office concept coming to the District, which is already home to the original location and headquarters of The Cannon entrepreneurial community, opened in November 2017 at 1334 Brittmoore Road, and The Ranch Office, 1220 Blalock, which opened on Valentine’s Day in 2019.
Urban Office’s 7,000-square-foot Spring Branch location will include 20 move-in ready offices with numerous shared amenities. This location is on the same property as Slowpokes Coffee, Shoot The Moon, Feges BBQ, Tacos Del Julio, Soul Tribes Yoga + Meditation, and Shipley Do-nuts.
Urban Office currently has four locations in Houston, including the new one in Spring Branch, two in the Heights and one in the Galleria area, with two more in the planning stages. There is also an Urban Office location in San Antonio and one planned for Austin.
“Many small businesses can’t afford to pay for their own conference room, kitchen, restrooms, lounge area, and private office. We offer these businesses an affordable, move-in ready private office where they have access to all of these amenities without having to pay for them in their own private space,” Lapin said.
The Spring Branch Urban Office location offers complimentary hard-wired and wireless internet, coffee, tea, sparkling and still flavored and unflavored filtered water, snacks, conference rooms that can be reserved in advance with an app, and comfortable lounge area with couches and a TV.
Also on the minds of those opening Urban Office in this post-pandemic world is workplace health and safety.
“We made sure not to offer open co-working space where everyone is working out in the open and breathing on each other. We also do not offer daily or month-to-month memberships. Our terms are typically six to 12 months as we want businesses to have their own private office space that only they have access to,” Lapin said. “When you open it up to daily and even monthly memberships and allow people to work out in the open, you expose the space to many more people and many more germs. Our spaces are also cleaned throughout the day.”
Lapin, as well as Dan Braun, president of Braun Enterprises, are Houston natives. Braun was founded by Dan’s father, Gabriel “Gabi” Braun, who passed away recently. Gabi Braun was born in Israel and worked to build business relationships between Houston and the Israel. He also gave generously of his time, creativity and funds to many community organizations. Mayor Sylvester Turner attended and spoke at a memorial service for Braun, declaring the day “Gabi Braun Day in Houston.”
Dan Braun looks to continue his father’s legacy and run the company with the same high level of ethics and determination as his late father, said Ben Blachman of Braun Enterprises.
“We are very excited to join the Spring Branch community, and eager to fill Urban Office with local tenants in need of workspace,” Blachman said. “After working at home the past 18 months, many small businesses want to find a flexible space where they can have connections with others, but also variable rent options. Some larger firms may want hubs where their salespeople can meet with clients in town if their offices are in more suburban locations, and Urban Office can provide that.”
Over at The Ranch Office, President Michael Haapaniemi said the clients showed up at his co-working location after their companies closed their offices during the pandemic.
“Across all of our memberships, we have about 50 businesses working with the Ranch Office,” Haapaniemi said. “Many people don’t work well from home, and being a conveniently located neighborhood space, The Ranch has seen an influx of Spring Branch residents who are looking for a community-based alternative to working from the house.”
Since opening the 5,500-square-foot location, Haapaniemi said the business has added an additional 2,200 square feet of outdoor space in the form of a rooftop patio for events. The rooftop also features a putting green.
“We’ve also opened the Ranch Studio, a boutique gym experience for personal trainers looking for a more private and engaging place to conduct their PT sessions,” he said.
Like The Cannon, which now has expanded to downtown Houston, The Galleria area and soon will be in Galveston, The Ranch Office is also expanding with a second location in Katy.
Multiple locations mean clients can be even more flexible with their work location, access to clients and, as The Cannon touts on its website, “the entire community at your fingertips.”
— by Dorothy Puch Lillig