Pictured above, Alabama Health Guidance’s Lacy Thomson (left) and Modern Woodmen’s Morgan Lavender (right) stand outside their new office location at 601 South Fifth Street in Gadsden.
By Katie Bohannon, News Editor
A new professional coworking space just graced 601 South Fifth Street in Gadsden.
Designed to provide a flexible, collaborative and productive environment for its inhabitants, the historic building is now searching for two tenants who seek to experience the benefits of a new way to work.
With five to six office spaces, a full service 10 seating conference room (complete with a 70-inch television and laptop connection for presentations), 12 space back parking, front lobby and seating area, small kitchen and breakroom, the property resides in close proximity to downtown Gadsden, providing tenants with the perfect opportunity to explore all the city has to offer.
Owners Lacy and Marcus Thomson renovated the building, preserving the beautiful historic charm in embellished molding and ornate hardware, while updating the property with modern features and amenities. Necessities like internet, water and power, in addition to fax machine, copier and printer access and weekly cleanings of the common space are all included in office rent.
“I love the history of the building, the old southern charm, the tall ceilings, the molding in all the offices and the original hardwood floors,” said Lacy Thomson. “I love new construction, but I love old buildings that have been brought back to life. It has meaning. It has stories. It has memories. It just made sense. We’re hoping to get two more people in that don’t want the overhead of an office expense but still want an office, somewhere they can meet with clients that is nice, safe and convenient.”
Security cameras and an alarm system with personalized codes provide tenants with security. There is even room for expansion, should an interested tenant need more office space, on the second floor that can be converted into either one large dwelling or two separate spaces. A basement provides ample room for storage.
Thomson occupies an office alongside Paula Hughlena Obar who both represent Alabama Health Guidance. The pair work alongside Modern Woodmen Financial’s Morgan Lavender, who completes the trio of tenants currently operating in the building. Thomson and Lavender both advocated for the coworking space concept, noting that while tenants share the same work environment and create a community within the area, inhabitants still possess the freedom to maintain their privacy and individuality.
The concept of coworking spaces drifts from the traditional perception of a rigid office atmosphere while providing business professionals with the structure of a designated area to work and meet with clients.
“I saw a chart online that talked about people working from home,” said Lavender. “That’s probably going to continue, depending on what happens going forward. The chart had two circles, one showing people working at home and the pros and cons, and how that can be difficult. You don’t have a set workspace. You have distractions. You have to have a lot of structure to work from home. Then, it showed the rigid office environment and some of the drawbacks of that. In the middle where the circles met was the coworking space. It’s really combining the best of both worlds. You’re able to have flexibility and you do have your own space, but you still have community.
“That was the biggest word I kept seeing when I was reading about [coworking spaces] – community. That says a lot about Gadsden and our area. People love community. You see that everywhere you go. People are so generous and they just rally around people when they need help. Community defines this whole concept.”
While Thomson and Morgan work for different companies, their services complement one another, and the pair often collaborate on ideas like marketing and customer service.
“We’re here to help each other,” said Thomson. “Even on the bad days when you want to quit, it’s nice to have somebody else [present]. Even though they’re not working with you, [you have reassurance] that it’s going to be okay.”
Together, coworking spaces like the Professional Workplace on Fifth welcome business professionals to experience an environment that nurtures growth and encourages success. Thomson and Lavender emerge as two examples of dedicated representatives, who care about their clients, community and coworkers, creating a safe and friendly space where individuals and companies can thrive.
“It doesn’t have to be what everybody else used to do or what everybody thinks it should be,” said Lavender. “It’s what works best for you and your business. You’re taking people with all these different ideas, working for different companies, doing different things [and putting them together]. It fosters support. I may not work for the same company as Lacy, but she’s going to see things from a different perspective and shed some light where I might have a blind spot. There are a lot of possibilities. I think you’ll see more of it.”
The Professional Workplace on Fifth plans to host Business After Hours with the Chamber of Gadsden and Etowah County in January. Confirmation of this event remains dependent on the Chamber’s discretion.
To schedule a tour of the workplace or discover more information on pricing and office availability, contact Lacy Thomson at 256-312-3867 or visit Facebook.com/Professionalworkplaceonfifth.