When John Vieregg closed Interiors Marketplace after a two-decade run in Charlotte, he started looking around for another business that had some similarities.
He liked subleasing multiple spaces to different operators. He liked the sense of community. And when he stumbled across coworking, Vieregg realized it could have those attributes.
Vieregg has leased a full floor, 13,000 square feet, in Grubb Properties’ 1515 Montford Park, an office building on Park Road that’s undergoing a full renovation. His space, called CoCoTiv, is targeting an April or May opening.
“We’re trying to create this energetic, productive social environment,” said Vieregg. Pfieffer University has leased two floors, and recently held a grand opening for its new Charlotte campus in the building.
There’s been a surge of new coworking spaces opening in Charlotte over the past year, from local operators like Hygge and Advent to national firms such as WeWork and Industrious. Vieregg said he noticed many are clustered in and around uptown, and that SouthPark and its surrounding areas didn’t have options besides executive suites firm Regis.
“Coworking was concentrated right around uptown,” Vieregg said. “We wanted to focus on areas outside there.”
In most coworking setups, an entrepreneur or company pays a monthly fee for a membership, which lets them use a desk and take advantage of amenities such as free local coffee, beer and social and networking events. For a higher monthly fee, users can rent small offices, often on short-term, month-to-month leases that have more flexibility than a traditional office lease.
The idea is to appeal to entrepreneurs or small businesses, such as graphic designers, architects, or software developers who don’t need to rent a 3,000 square-foot office but don’t want to work at home or in a Starbucks. The concept has proven popular, though it remains a tiny slice of the overall market for office space.
Vieregg said they haven’t set rates for CoCoTiv (the name comes from the words coworking, collaboration and the portmanteau “cotivation”) but a basic monthly membership will likely run about $195. He’s counting on amenities such as free parking (which some uptown operators don’t have), access to 1515 Montford Park’s gym, bike room and tenant amenities and a 20 percent discount for members taking classes at Pfeiffer to help draw members.