Creating a dynamic office space that’s inventive, flexible, and practical is a challenge, but it’s a project that Will Brannon and his brother Curt Brannon were willing to undertake. As Co-owners of 315 Franklin Street, they had a vision for Downtown Huntsville that included the addition of a space that would not only be unique, but also serve a purpose that would benefit the city.
Larger cities like San Diego and New York have long embraced the concept of shared office spaces, but the trend has made its way to Huntsville and has already attracted several dynamic businesses.
“Companies are becoming more open to the concept of less traditional methods when expanding,” Will explained. “The purpose of 315 Franklin was to create an experience. When you walk inside these doors, we want you to feel a certain way and reap the benefits that the space can offer.”
When faced with the mission of redeveloping one of downtown’s spaces on Franklin Street, Will and Curt seized the opportunity to “invest in Huntsville’s growth.”
Building A Community
What does a shared office space look like and how does it function? At 315 Franklin, you’ll find several amenities that point tenants to one goal—building a community. Collaborative office spaces are growing in popularity, according to Will. But 315 takes it a step further by offering desks to employees of different companies who can use the space, its conference room, and rooftop terrace all without the expense of renting a dedicated office.
“For instance, if you had a business that recently signed a 5-year lease on a new office space to meet their current needs but grew rapidly, our concept provides flexible, dynamic space and bandwidth,” assured Will. “It not only gives them a space to do their job, but ideally, they will be working elbow-to-elbow with people from complementary companies. We’ve created an ecosystem that’s conducive to networking, building relationships, and referring business to each other.”
“Imagine you are an architect with a vision,” he went on. “You will be in the same office with subcontractors and developers that will offer insight into your project that you may otherwise have missed out on. That’s just one benefit of the space.”
With the addition of new businesses and an increased focus on the “live, work, play,” lifestyle, Downtown Huntsville is leading the way in new, experiential ideas. 315 Franklin is a progressive space that shows the city has a lot of growth on the horizon.
Huntsville’s Investment In Growth
“If you quit seeing change in Huntsville, check your pulse,” joked Will. “The city’s growth as a whole makes projects like this possible. Thanks to Downtown Huntsville, Inc., and the leaders who want to see Huntsville grow and change, we are enjoying the benefits of larger cities.”
The bottom floor of 315 is already fully leased to Haufe, a next-generation Talent Management/HR company that “enables companies to attract, engage, and retain the top talent they need to be leaders in their industries.” The company’s previous headquarters was in San Francisco, but they recently made their move to Huntsville.
“Haufe was coming to Huntsville regardless, which says a lot about our city,” said Will. “But they were attracted to 315 Franklin because of the concept—the availability of shared space upstairs pacified any concerns they had of outgrowing their new office. If they grow, they can simply rent a desk upstairs and expand as needed. They were a great candidate for the space and we are glad to have them.”
Will went on to share that much of the success with the project is due to relationships with trusted commercial real estate agents, developers, and leaders that believed in the idea. But it’s a project with no end in sight.
A Vision Evolving Daily
“First of all, this is not what I thought I’d be doing in my career,” clarified Will. “My intention was always to go to medical school and become a doctor. After working in a hospital for a while I discovered that it wasn’t for me, so I started from square one. I began working for an experiential marketing company and it became my new passion.”
Thanks to the background in marketing, Will said he and his team were able to research trends in larger cities and envision what Huntsville will become.
“The thing about this space that’s so great is that there’s always room to change the vision—it’s always growing,” he said. “We always have the option of making a version two. We want to hear from people on what else would make this space even better. We have the rooftop terrace, that’s something people have come to appreciate in a work environment.”
At the end of the day, a space needs to have value. Will says that making the space work with your story is where you can find that value.
Telling Your Story With A Space
Many of the amenities in 315 Franklin are designed to be flexible and, at the same time, easily controlled. When considering the value of the space, Will and Curt wanted to ensure that it was beneficial for all age groups and working styles.
“We made sure there is room for both isolation and collaboration,” assured Will. “Some people here like to have quiet—and we have space for that—while others prefer a more collaborative environment. Making the space work with both is a necessity in order to create the most positive workplace.”
All of the desks in 315 Franklin were custom made by SCSWORX in Huntsville, the company where Will currently serves as President. In fact, members of Will’s sales and creative teams have desks on the top floor. As an experiential marketing company, SCSWORX helps companies build better tangible brand experiences. In the case of 315 Franklin, the brand is the space itself.
“We designed all of the desks with wheels on them, because we never know what the next day will hold,” said Will. “Tomorrow may be a day that we want to collaborate, but today we may need our space. Simple things like the addition of those wheels make the space flexible and controllable.”
Thankful For Recognition
Recently, 315 Franklin was on a list of possible Downtown Huntsville projects that were nominated for Project of the Year. While the award went to the deserving Preservation Company, Will said 315 Franklin was honored to be on the same list.
“Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as the other nominees was incredible,” beamed Will. “I held those projects on a pedestal, and the fact that people acknowledged what we were doing here as deserving of a nomination—well, we are overwhelmed. We have so many people to thank—Peter Lowe, the Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission, Downtown Huntsville, Inc., and many more—for believing in projects like this. We love to see the city grow and change, and it’s even better to know we were a small part of it.”
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CRUNKLETON COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE GROUP