The city of Colleyville is looking to get in on a workplace trend taking its neighboring cities by storm.

The city will open a new business center with coworking and flexible spaces this spring, joining a group of corporate giants already offering collaborative spaces. It will be the first coworking and collaborative workspace to open in Colleyville.

There are at least eight in the surrounding cities of Grapevine and Southlake, with a new one, Venture X, that just opened this month. The Colleyville Business Center is expected to open by May in the former Wachovia building on SH 26.

These collaborative spaces benefit small and large businesses alike, Colleyville Chamber of Commerce President Carolyn Sims said.

“People are looking for ways to connect,” she said. “[Coworking spaces] have always been there, but people ... would just have to work at a Starbucks. ... They’ve been doing this. It’s just more of a business-type environment now [that] they’ll be able to come into.”

The Colleyville concept

Following a brief period of construction, the Colleyville Business Center will open and become the new home for the Colleyville Chamber of Commerce. Chamber staff will operate and run the center while paying rent to the city.

“We had a great opportunity to partner with the chamber of commerce to relocate them to [SH] 26 ... and kind of serve as an additional face for the city’s economic development engine,” City Manager Jerry Ducay said.

Colleyville is subleasing the building for the Business Center from Wells Fargo. The property will cost the city an estimated $62,832 for base rent, with an annual 50-cent increase.

Money for the sublease is available to the city via the Tax Increment Financing fund, Assistant City Manager Mark Wood said.

Construction costs are estimated at about $160,000. The chamber will rent the building from the city for $15,000 for the first year; that cost will increase 4% annually.

When other businesses lease the space, the revenue will go to the city. The lease rates are still being finalized, Wood said.

Included in the business center are chamber offices, flexible office spaces, a large conference room, two small conference rooms, a work and break room, a reception area and eight workstations.

The conference rooms and work spaces help the city with its goal of reaching out to business owners who do not have brick-and-mortar locations but do work in town.

“They’re really an untapped resource for us,” Ducay said. “[They have] expertise and knowledge to share with our emerging businesses.”

Wood described the offerings of the business center as collaborative workstations, which he said will provide opportunities for businesses to interact and help each other.

Collaborative workstations are beneficial for any business, Sims said. The ones at the Colleyville Business Center would be open to anyone, whether they are local or from out of town.

“The concept is wonderful because you have businesses and people that are always looking for places like this where they can come in and work for a day ... or for a month,” she said.

Colleyville City Council Member Chuck Kelley voted in favor of the Colleyville Business Center development. It is a place where he said he would want to work when he is not at his office in Addison. He said he perceives coworking not just as a trend but as a permanent fixture of the city.

“There’s a lot of us now, as more companies start pushing people to work out of their homes, that don’t always have the quiet environments,” Kelley said. “That’s an added benefit for a lot of the smaller businesses.”

Amenities offered with coworking

Catherine Miller, the owner of the Lift Office coworking space in Grapevine, said people seek these shared spaces for three main reasons: to avoid isolation, to eliminate distraction and to have a flexible space.

“People come here to grow their business,” Miller said. “Sometimes, you’re beginning to have a team of people, not just a single person, and you don’t always want to do that at home or in your office.”

Having a professional work environment without a long-term contract is a major perk, Lift Office Operations Manager Tina Landry said. Whether a person’s business grows or shrinks, a coworking space can flex to accommodate those changes, she added.

Coworking members at Lift Office pay a daily or monthly fee that entitles them to use a specific area within the facility, such as a community table, a dedicated desk, a private office or a conference room, which Landry said is typical for most coworking spaces.

Ross Paterson runs his business, consulting and training firm XM Performance, out of Lift Office. He said he finds value in the synergy among office members; he also said he likes that he can pay for use of different parts of the office as needed.

“I have meetings in [the conference room] two times a week, maybe, but I don’t need to pay for all this space the other three days of the week,” he said. “Economically, I can grow my business and use this space more or less as my business grows.”

The coworking office also helps budding businesses avoid an additional credit check that comes with a signed lease on their taxes, Venture X Community Manager Michelle Grissman said.

“It really is the future of workspace,” she said. “Coworking is the way a lot of companies are going, large and small.”

Another difference from typical offices is that coworking spaces will usually take care of all office needs, from mail to stocking paper, and will often even have a receptionist to greet people coming through the door.

“We help all businesses focus on running their business, not their office,” Tosha Bontrager, senior director of brand and products for WorkSuites coworking space, said in an email.

The future of commercial spaces

A survey published in January 2019 by global commercial real estate services organization Colliers International found that among 19 major U.S. markets, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is the fastest-growing in terms of coworking space. Between the fourth quarter of 2016 and mid-2018, the square footage of flexible workspace in DFW grew by 250%, according to the survey.

Office Evolution opened its doors in Southlake in April 2018. By November 2019, the coworking business saw the need to grow due to the “immediate client demand,” said Kimberly Riggs, business development manager for Office Evolution.

Part of that demand is what brought Venture X to Grapevine, Grissman said. When it asked around, the company found that many of the area coworking spaces were full, she said.

WorkSuites opened in Grapevine in 2005. Bontrager said the concept of shared offices and flexible spaces has been around for a long time, but many people did not understand it. The trend is now changing from people wanting a coworking space to demanding it, she said.

“Remote workers are on the rise, and shared offices help companies attract better talent from all over instead of limiting them to local talent,” she said in an email. “The industry isn’t going anywhere. The way we work has changed because of it.”

Additional reporting by Olivia Lueckemeyer.