A Columbus developer wants to turn the old-style office building on its head. And it plans to start in Pittsburgh.
By the time the E.V. Bishoff Co. is done with the historic Investment Building on 4th Avenue, Downtown, your father might not recognize it, not with shared office space on one floor and a lobby that looks more like a hotel than a center of commerce.
“We believe we’ll be creating an entirely new level of office building,” said David Bishoff, CEO of the Bishoff Co.
Bishoff will start on the vacant 15th floor, where it will create 5,800 square feet of co-working space for start-ups, freelancers, and others that don’t want or need the long-term commitment of a lease.
At Club Level CoWorking, as the space has been dubbed, individuals or businesses will be able to buy monthly memberships for open desk space, cubicles, or private glass-enclosed offices.
Included will be amenities like WiFi; 24-hour building access; copy and printing services; personal lockers; and access to telephone and conference room space.
Bishoff will test the new concept in Pittsburgh before trying it in buildings it owns in Columbus and Cleveland.
“Pittsburgh, we have found, has a tremendous depth of not just entrepreneurs but small- to mid-size companies and individuals that do remarkable things,” Mr. Bishoff said.
“We came to the conclusion that if we were going to start this anywhere, Pittsburgh was the place to start.”
The company decided to introduce the concept, similar to collaborative work space, after studying the market.
It is hoping that there is a newer generation of business people who prefer to work in a community-oriented environment where they can bounce ideas off others or collaborate on projects without the burden of a long-term lease.
Mr. Bishoff said the arrangement is ideal for start-ups or growing companies that are unsure of how much space they will need at any given time. In a co-working environment, they can adjust their space requirements monthly.
Memberships will start $350 a month for the open desk space and $700 a month for the private space. There also will be a set-up fee that is expected to be the equivalent of the monthly rent, although Bishoff will waive that for those that sign up by Jan. 31.
The company hopes to have the space ready by February or March.
Caffeine fix in the Insomnia Bar
Co-working space won’t be the only change coming to the Investment Building, a 21-story brick, granite and terra cotta structure that opened in 1927. The lobby also will be renovated to resemble that of a boutique hotel with living room style furniture, complimentary espresso, coffee, baked goods, energy drinks and other treats available to building tenants at the Insomnia Bar, as it is being called.
Bishoff plans to do similar conversions to lobbies of the Park and Diamond buildings in Pittsburgh and to its properties in Columbus and Cleveland.
The goal, Mr. Bishoff said, is to give tenants a “cleaner, easier place to conduct their business.” The lobby changes in the Investment Building should be completed in the next week or so.
Mark Belko: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1262.