Houston developer adding office space in former Southtown Children's Center facility

Jan 30, 2023

Two years after opening up its flexible office space on the second floor of the Century Heights building along Loop 410, Houston-based developer Braun Enterprises is planning to open another location of Urban Office in April. This time, they'll be utilizing the entire 20,000 square foot building at 1209 South St. Mary's Street, which housed a former Children's Shelter facility.

At a time when companies of all sizes are reevaluating their need for larger office spaces, Urban Office is banking on the need for individual employees, people who are self-employed, small law practices and startups to want a place to work that isn't their own home. Braun purchased the site in October 2022. Terms of the deal and the construction costs weren't disclosed, but county records show the buyer taking out a loan of about $3.9 million related to the property from Independent Bank.

Andrea McPartlin, community manager for the Century Heights location, told the Business Journal that the new location will have 70 offices with an average of 250 square feet and $700 to $950 per month. Along with the common amenities that people find in coworking spaces and other flexible offices, workers will also find an on-site notary public, a mother's room and a podcasting room. Tenants will also have the option of moving into a fully furnished office for an additional fee.

She said that the advantage of a flexible concept like Urban Office is that it gives tenants more freedom to expand, move or contract when the need arises.

"In traditional office spaces, you are generally asked to sign a three-to-five year agreement or commitment," she said. "And they're bigger build outs, they're not usually small or intimate."

Based on the recent history of the Century Heights location, which is planning an expansion within that building, McPartlin is confident in the offices in the Southtown location filling up quickly. When she joined on at Century Heights this past may, it was 43% leased. Now it has a 97% occupancy rate.

She said that it's easy to build a community of people sharing a building, as forming those kinds of connections is human nature.

"I think there's nothing more important than that and it starts with the tour, it starts with the first contact we have with them," she said. "Just getting to know them and listening. And that's all anybody really needs: building a community of like-minded people, meeting each other and knowing your neighbors."

Braun has eight Urban Office locations in Houston and two in Austin. The opening for the Southtown location is slated for late April. Houston-based Heights Venture Architecture + Design is designing the space. Harrison Fletcher Construction is the general contractor.
[Source - https://www.bizjournals.com/sanantonio/news/2023/01/30/braun-enterprises-urban-office-southtown.html]