Coworking venues now total 1.5 million square feet of the city’s available office space, according to Forbes. In Westchase District, companies such as TechSpace and Regus have helped transform what used to be a niche alternative to traditional office leases for start-ups and freelancers into a widely-embraced workspace option for companies of all sizes. Joining the District’s coworking offerings is Office Evolution, which opened its first Houston location earlier this year at Briar Forest Crossing, 1300 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. S.
Operating with ohana
With 76 locations (51 operating and 25 under development) in 25 states, the Denver-based company is the fourth largest coworking space franchisor in the country. It aims to provide not only flexible offices, meeting spaces and administrative services, but to create a supportive corporate culture among its members. When Fritz and Leigh Fowler – managing partners of the Houston location – were looking for franchise opportunities, they were attracted to the concept of networking with other people and helping small businesses grow. “I’ve worked my entire career from virtual offices, so this just made sense,” Leigh said. “One of Office Evolution’s core values is the Hawaiian idea of Ohana, or family, meaning we’re in this together. The company views its tenants as members. That appealed to our personalities.”
The Fowlers also found Westchase District an appealing site for their venture. “We’re right next to the beltway, which puts us in an easy in-and-out location,” Fritz said. “Plus we offer free parking and are on the first floor of the building, so we’re easy to reach.” The 8,700 square-feet space houses 29 private offices, four dedicated desks and two conference rooms with audio-video capabilities. “You can have just the right amount of office space you need while staying within your budget, knowing that as your business grows, we can grow with you,” he added.
Fritz said while some coworking spaces target startups or tech companies, Office Evolution in Westchase District caters to the professional service industry, such as independent attorneys and accountants who are looking for private office space. “We have members who are in the oil and gas and engineering sectors, as well as other franchise owners and individual consultants,” he said. “Regardless of the field, we try to make working with us simple and easy so that our members can focus on developing their core businesses.”
Leigh said the Houston location regularly hosts networking events such as lunch-and-learns featuring a mix of members and outside experts who can share their insights about business development and branding. “Even though technology allows people to work from home, there’s real value in interacting with other people, whether that’s asking for advice or referring business to one another,” she said. “Our members get to know each other in a friendly, supportive environment.”
Shared workspaces start at $99 per month, with dedicated workspaces starting at $349 per month. Members also may choose live phone answering and remote receptionist services as well as a business address, private mailboxes and package reception. Each Office Evolution location has community printers, copiers and scanners, and complimentary coffee, tea and wireless internet.
“We have both month-to-month and long-term agreements and we require only a 30-day cancellation notice,” Fritz said. “We even offer conference rooms and day office options for non-members that let guests book in 15-minute increments. We find that really gives businesses the flexibility they need.”
1300 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. S., Suite 100