The CoLab@55 Merritt, originally envisioned as a unique coworking space catering solely to tradesmen and craftsmen, is already branching out to include more traditional coworking tenants — a reflection of the relative dearth of such spaces in the immediate area, according to leasing agent Colliers Internatonal.
“There are a lot of coworking spaces in Stamford,” said Colliers Client Services Coordinator Tim Johnson, who with Senior Managing Director Robert Miller and Managing Director Enzennio Mallozzi are representing the site for Colliers. “Serendipity has expanded. Workpoint is doing very, very well.”
That city is also home to Comradity, Sono Spaces and Workspace Stamford, among others, while B:Hive operates in Bridgeport and Southport and HAYVN recently opened in Darien.
“We’re bullish on this sector,” Miller said. “We’re very encouraged by the growth of this kind of concept.” The 110,000-square-foot CoLab — “The name has gone through a lot of iterations,” Johnson noted. “We also call it the Trumbull Tradesmens’ Center” — was the site of Unilever before it moved to Shelton in 2017. Colliers has signed its first two lessees: Heir Logic, an e-commerce distribution startup, inked a one-year lease for 2,500 square feet and has taken another 3,000 on a short-term basis; while Graystone Advertising Group, which had been in Bridgeport for 15 years, signed a five-year deal for 6,200 square feet. The latter specializes in recruiting staff and faculty for colleges, Johnson said.
The space is owned by Norwalk’s Levco Mechanical Group, a mechanical contractor specializing in heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration, which originally had marketed it to tradesmen and craftsmen. While that is still in effect, Johnson said, “Our message has evolved to where we’re talking with local companies of all types. It’s flexible enough to allow any company to flourish and grow.”
That flexibility was evidenced by adding double doors to its loading dock to accommodate Heir Logic’s needs, he added.
Several other leases are in the works, Johnson said, including with a local marketing consultant, an HR consulting firm and an engineering company. He said Colliers has been “surprised” at the interest shown by companies seeking office space “because of all the office space that is already available.
“For ownership, that flexibility means cash flow into the building,” he said. “The second floor is being designed as an incubator space for companies in the area, and we’re still evolving larger spaces for tradesmen.”
Decommissioning the Unilever data center should be done by August, Johnson said.
Amenities like a shared conference room, cafeteria, ample parking “and even a ping-pong table” are also on hand, Miller said, with a coffee bar soon to be added.
Depending on where they’re located in the building, lessees are paying $9 to $12 NNN, a term meaning “net, net, net,” pass-through expenses of leasing that are paid by tenants or lessees in addition to rent or lease fees. The NNN fees are property taxes, property insurance and common area maintenance. Miller explained that such an arrangement is important when dealing with tenants who may come and go at all hours and require different levels and uses of power.
Individual cubicle spaces are also available at $100 per cube, he added.
“Smaller companies are increasingly interested in signing one- and two-year leases,” Johnson said. “They want that flexibility. That’s where the meat of the market is.”