A local developer is launching a chain of co-sharing locations, a nod to Columbus’ emerging gig economy.
Kyle Katz and April Zimmerman Katz say their Versa co-working concept will cater to two audiences: freelancers and small businesses looking for office space they can share and companies that need short-term space for seasonal employees or those working on special projects.
Right now, the developer has three properties for his concept and Kyle Katz says the pair are looking for more as it expands it across Central Ohio. Versa will open its first location in the 37,000-square-foot building at 1201 Dublin Road next week. He said that building, which changed hands in June to an LLC, will serve as business’ flagship.
“People are changing the way they work,” Katz said as he walked through the Dublin Road building on Wednesday as dozens of contractors worked on the space. “Companies are going to be working with more freelancers, and those freelancers want to be in an environment where they can interact.
April Zimmerman Katz is the driving force behind the project. Kyle Katz will manage the building and development side of the Versa project. will manage operations and programing. The two have extensive experience in the local real estate scene and have been involved in a number of local buildings and deals.
Versa works as a membership-based plan that gives independent contractors and small companies a central working space and business address. The concept has several price levels, with plans for individual membership starting at $99 a month and private offices that start at $799 a month.
Memberships give users access to all Versa locations.
The project is similar to what’s planned for the Columbus Business First building at 303 W. Nationwide Blvd. across from Huntington Park. Work on that project is to begin once the newspaper and other tenants move out of the building this winter. It is set to reopen in the spring or summer of 2018, Katz said.
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And Katz said a third location is in the works in a 5,000-square-foot building located at 3450 Indianola Ave. in Clintonville. It, too, should open in spring or summer.
He said the spaces in the properties are perfect for companies that are looking for 500 to 2,000 square feet of space, often with a dozen or fewer employees.
Creative groups such as graphic and web design companies or those in marketing and communications favor open office spaces, he said. Technology and coding businesses and other kinds of independent companies gravitate to spaces where other small companies can work with them, too.
“The gig economy is so young but it’s a market where we think we’ll find an audience,” Mr. Katz said.
As the Versa brand grows, Mr. Katz said, he hopes to expand the concept to more neighborhoods in Columbus before taking it outside of Central Ohio. He’s been considering buildings that can be converted into co-sharing spaces.
Daniel Dunsmoor and Ross Lanford of Colliers International helped Katz secure the 1201 Dublin Road site and will work with him as he searches for more locations for the concept. The goal is to own the buildings eventually, though for now it is signing long-term leases for the Dublin Road and Nationwide Boulevard buildings.