Brianda Calvo, left, and Christopher Rodriguez, center, of DirecTV, visit with property manager Connie Harrell at Beta Roswell, located on the fourth floor of 400 Penn Plaza. Beta Roswell offers office workspace for rent by the day, week or month for young professionals. (Randal Seyler Photo)
A big city business trend has arrived in Roswell — liquid office space.
“In larger cities, there is a general trend of young entrepreneurs to work from their iPad or smart phone,” said Connie Harrell, property manager of 400 Penn Plaza. “And young professionals who are just starting their careers need a flexible workspace.”
Enter Beta Roswell, a shared office space suite located on the fourth floor of 400 Penn Plaza — the building formerly (and mistakenly) known as the Wells Fargo Building.
Beta Roswell offers suites, cubicles and work stations for rent by the hour, day, week or month, although Harrell says the first two clients to sign up have both taken out year leases. The office offers both Wi-Fi and hard-wired workstations, as well as a shared break room area and lots of elbow [auth] room.
Harrell, along with the Roswell Chamber of Commerce, held an open house for Beta Roswell on July 10. The modern-looking suite cost about $250,000 in remodeling, Harrell said, and the concept is based on Wisznia Development’s first and model project, Beta New Orleans.
“The concept is to have office space for young professionals and for traveling professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, or energy professionals,” Harrell said. She referred to the concept as “liquid space,” which is a nationwide trend in which some hotel chains, such as Marriott and Westin, offer conference rooms and workspace for daily and hourly rental for transient professionals.
Real estate is the second-largest expense for most companies, and in the corporate world, employees are often only at their desks a third of the time, according to Mark Gilbreath, the founder and CEO of LiquidSpace. As a result, a growing number of companies have done away with assigned work spaces all together.
Beta’s design provides a contemporary workspace that is fun but professional, colorful yet sophisticated, Harrell said. The design also includes commissioned artwork by Harrell’s daughter, Alexandre Harrell.
According to a 2013 CNN report on Westin’s hotel workspaces, 75 percent of workers in the U.S. are on the move, meaning that for at least one day a week, they have no steady office. Worldwide, that number is 30 percent, though growing.
The International Data Corporation puts the number of mobile workers worldwide at 1.3 billion.
Although Roswell is not as big as New Orleans, there is a need for affordable office space for young professionals, and 400 Penn Plaza is banking on offering that flexibility and affordability to southeastern New Mexico entrepreneurs.
“All you need is your key,” Harrell said. Beta Roswell offers work spaces ranging from window offices to work stations, as well as having two conference facilities (dubbed Chat Rooms) that can be rented by the hour.
“We have already had some attorneys and non-profit boards contact us about using the conference rooms,” Harrell said. “This is helpful for attorneys who need neutral space to take dispositions.”
Offices rent for as little as $175 a week, while work stations can be rented for $50 a day. “All they need to bring is their smart phone or a laptop,” she said. The large conference room can be rented for $50 an hour or $500 a week.
Harrell, a native of Dexter, said she has been office manager of 400 Penn Plaza for 29 years, and her partner in New Orleans, Marcel Wisznia, is the son of the original developer of 400 Penn Plaza, Walter Wisznia.
Marcel Wisznia, besides being an architect, is also a developer in New Orleans, turning several historic buildings into post-Katrina mixed use buildings, Harrell said, and it was in one of these historic buildings, the Maritime Building, that the Beta project began.
“The renovation of the Maritime Building exhibits the beautiful contrast between the historic and the contemporary — and beta is no different,” according to the website, betaneworleans.com. “Despite its title as New Orleans’ first skyscraper, the Maritime houses elegantly designed apartments and commercial spaces that respond to modern-day needs.”
“The Beta New Orleans is a huge success,” she said, “I believe Beta Roswell will be just as successful.”