TAMPA — The name of the new Bay 3 co-working space at the Armature Works goes back to World War I, when the red-brick warehouse overlooking the Hillsborough River was the maintenance barn for Tampa Electric’s streetcar system.
As the name suggests, it was one of three bays — 278 feet long, 73 feet wide and 35 feet high — big enough to hold a trolley car or two in need of repair.
A hundred years later, Bay 3 is seeing a different style of industry and commerce move in.
Instead of welders and mechanics, its current generation of tenants are freelancers, entrepreneurs who run businesses from a laptop and companies like DeliverLogic, a software firm that handles meal delivery logistics for 25,000 restaurants in 42 states and 20 countries.
DeliverLogic rented three offices for a total of $2,700 a month and is thinking about adding some memberships for Bay 3’s first-come, first-served common work area. A big part of the attraction was the proximity of the new Heights Public Market on the other side of the renovated Armature Works building, which is at 1910 N Ola Ave.
"I wanted somewhere where we would want to work after hours," said Joe Murgio, 38, CEO of the 15-person firm, which has a half-dozen employees in Tampa with more in Tallahassee, Miami and St. Louis. "I just loved what they did with the Armature Works … the upscale food court, the live music and the great atmosphere."
"Five years ago, it wasn’t a destination that you would have even thought of coming to," said Christopher Harrison, who handles customer service for DeliverLogic’s larger accounts, but that’s changed.
It also helped that the developers of the Armature Works, Adam Harden and Chas Bruck of SoHo Capital, built the Pearl, a 314-unit apartment building across the street. DeliverLogic has taken a couple of units there for two of its developers and one of its investors. (Bay 3, the Heights Public Market and the Pearl are all pieces of the larger $83 million Heights project, which has more construction coming.)
Bay 3 leases come with 24-hour access, a kitchenette with a couple of Sub-Zero refrigerators, a Keurig coffee machine and a Vero Water dispenser, a staffed front desk, high-speed secure internet service, a notary and video conferencing, plus — for an additional cost — mail and package handling, color printing and the use of five conference rooms.
At 11,000 square feet, Bay 3 has 29 private offices ranging from 61 to 450 square feet in size and renting for from $699 to $1,999 a month; 10 dedicated desks starting at $400 a month and common-area memberships starting at $175 a month. About 80 percent of the spaces are leased.
Developers want to encourage cross-pollination by holding regular professional and social events for the tenants.
"I want it to feel comfortable and homey," said Armature Works owner and operator Taryn Bruck, who is married to Chas Bruck. She visited co-working spaces from Chicago to California to pick up ideas, salvaged roof planks from the original Bay 3 building to use as wood flooring, and had battered heart-of-pine columns re-cut and refinished into honey-colored conference room tables, one of them 18 feet long.
She also designed conversational nooks with egg-shaped entrances that afford workers more privacy and installed gently wooshing white noise machines in the ceiling to create quiet spots in airy common areas. The light fixtures range from artfully sleek to oversized free-hanging bulbs with glowing pretzeled filaments — like something that might have been salvaged from Thomas Edison’s lab at Menlo Park.
"Just like a historic house," she said. "You want to keep all the authenticity with some modern touches."
Contact Richard Danielson at [email protected] or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times