Last updated on March 1st, 2019 at 11:22 am
The vision for the project is akin to the trendy co-working concept where people work in the same building and share amenities in the name of collaboration. But the developer wants his tenants to have a bit more control over their identities.
“The new trend is this collaborative office. We’re not doing collaborative, we’re doing community,”
“The new trend is this collaborative office. We’re not doing collaborative, we’re doing community,” said Andrew Kaldis, who has spent the past couple of decades renovating historic and other unique structures in Montrose, downtown and Midtown.
His earlier restoration projects include downtown’s Commercial National Bank Building; the Montrose property that houses Hugo’s restaurant; and the old Antone’s deli building at 807 Taft.
He won preservation awards for all three. Recently he’s been most active in east downtown, or EaDo. The neighborhood has seen an influx of residential development – mostly clusters of three- and four-story townhouses.
Bars, restaurants and breweries have opened, thanks to demand for the urban housing and a new soccer stadium that attracted developers who wanted to build around it. The owners of coffeehouse and bakery Tout Suite recently launched a co-working concept next to their popular Commerce Street cafe.
The space offers communal workspaces as well as private glass-clad “office boxes” for small retail spaces or studios starting at $1,000 per month. Sigma Brewing Co. opened in September in an industrial building at 3118 Harrisburg. Kaldis recently redeveloped a two-building project on Commerce that is now full. One building contains artist studios and the second is an office building occupied by Rebellion Photonics, a company that provides gas monitoring in structures such as refineries, wellheads or storage tanks.
His newest project, at 3420 Rusk, will have an outdoor seating area and a reconditioned shipping container will house a bar that tenants can lease for gatherings and open houses. The complex will be called EaDo Workspaces, and tenants will be able to rent spaces as small as 250 square feet all the way up to 5,000 square feet. “It can be anything. I’ve got a hair salon that’s looking, and I have a marketing firm that’s more of a standard office,” he said.
“It can be anything. I’ve got a hair salon that’s looking, and I have a marketing firm that’s more of a standard office.”
Two other buildings on the property will be video/photography studios. “There are companies out there that are trying to find very unique spaces where they can do large photo shoots or they can come in and actually do small videos or different small productions,” Kaldis said, citing a similar concept in New York and Los Angeles called Milk Studios.
The buildings, he said, have ample parking, which is harder to find in more concentrated areas like Montrose and Midtown. The property used to house Johnson Specialties, which was established in 1947 and manufactured temporary lodging for offshore oil rigs. The historically industrial East End has seen a number of infrastructure improvements meant to give the area a more neighborhood feel.
The city of Houston and East End Management District won an Urban Land Institute award at the beginning of the year for the redevelopment of the esplanade on Navigation.
The three-block-long gathering space is set up for street cafes, retail kiosks and vendor spaces for pop-up tents and food trucks. “I started realizing the city and the management district was really committed to creating a new East End,” Kaldis said. “They’ve done everything they planned on doing, improving sidewalks, improving navigation, creating a synergy around the esplanades there in front of Ninfa’s and El Tiempo.”