Coworking spaces in Heights and Museum District to expand with Braun Enterprises purchases

Sep 01, 2022

An L-shaped midcentury office building designed by noted architect Philip G. Willard in the Museum District is undergoing renovations as office suites with shared amenities for tenants.

Set to open by the end of the year, Museum District Urban Office at 4900 Travis will be the first standalone Urban Office location for Braun Enterprises, which is expanding its coworking platform at several of its existing properties and two recently purchased buildings.

Braun also purchased 540 Heights Blvd., a 17,000-square-foot Victorian style house to transform into Heights Mansion Urban Office in the first quarter.

The Houston-based company is best known for restoring older inner-Loop buildings into retail and restaurant spaces. It’s applying the same treatment to office spaces, selecting locations near where people live with amenities within walking distance.

"We take buildings that have been around,” said Alec Lapin, Braun’s vice president of Urban Office. “We keep the bones, and then renovate the interior."

The two-story, 8,500-square-foot Museum District building, located just behind the Lawndale Art Center on Main Street, will be transformed into 40 or so offices ranging from 50 to 2,000 square feet. The large-windowed building, surrounded by mature oak trees, will have shady outdoor areas for working or taking a break.

The Heights property mimics a century old building but is much newer and will have up to 70 move-in ready private offices, ranging from 50 to 500 square feet, according to Lapin.

The properties will provide tenants access to conference rooms, high-speed internet, kitchens with coffee, tea, water and snacks, lounge areas, a Mother’s room, outdoor workspace, phone booths and a printer.

Braun is expanding Urban Office at several other buildings it owns as existing spaces fill with members. The Urban Office at its Spring Branch Village retail redevelopment at 8215 Long Point recently doubled in size to 13,000 square feet. The Urban Office at 5373 West Alabama in the 53 West mixed-use development near the Galleria will expand to 33,000 square feet next month. The company recently took over a 14,000-square foot location at 5757 Woodway Drive in Tanglewood.

Office workers at Spring Branch Village will have new options in addition to Feges BBQ and Slowpokes Coffee with the upcoming openings of The Blind Goat, Hando, Jinya Ramen Bar and Scoop Craft Creamery at the center.

Members of Urban Office typically pay from $500 to $1,000 a month or more for the largest spaces. They typically commit to one year or six months, but could go shorter.

"We want to be as flexible and nimble as possible to accommodate as companies grow and shrink and move,” Lapin said.

The firm, which is also expanding in San Antonio and Austin, expects to have 150,000 square feet of Urban Office projects open in 2023.