And so the Montrose Executive Plaza was born, offering mixed-use space for every kind of business needs.
Upon entering through the large glass doors just west of the railroad tracks at 15 W. Main St., in the old Ashley Furniture building, visitors to the Executive Plaza are greeted with tall ceilings, open space and the calming sounds of a water feature in the middle of the room.
The large room is sectioned off into different areas based on a businessperson's working needs, Byrd said.
There’s a co-working area, with tables and chairs in a bistro-like setting, complete with a coffee station, copy machine and scanner.
Personal work areas feature desks – and decorative screens, for sectioning off into more private spaces.
Across the room are the executive office suites, featuring personal workspaces, complemented by small meeting tables.
“I'm using music and water to keep the spaces separate,” Byrd said.
In another corner is a large and elegant table that can accommodate up to 10 people for a meeting.
Areas can be rearranged to host meetings of up to 30 people; if needed, a big screen television can be moved to the different stations.
Byrd has added small touches – a plant or photograph here, a comfy chair there – to make the space both professional and personal. “The mobile workforce has redefined workspace,” she said.
Cubicle-bound workdays are diminishing; with more employees able to work from anywhere, companies are using “condo” offices, sharing space and coming and going as needed, Byrd said. It’s the concept behind the Montrose Executive Plaza, where workspaces can be rented out by the hour or by the half-day.
“I'm trying to supplement what's already in the community,” said Byrd, who is meeting a need for meeting space, for everyone from individuals to larger groups, at an hourly rate.
“The Executive Plaza is a welcome addition to the community,” said Melanie Hall, executive director of the Montrose Community Foundation, a nonprofit committed to the development of Montrose. “As nonprofits seek new ways to reduce operating costs, the Plaza provides low-cost, centralized meeting and office space allowing us as a nonprofit community to share resources. I applaud Pat's efforts to think creatively to meet the current economic challenges facing nonprofits and businesses alike.”
The facility can now accommodate up to 200 people, and Byrd said she expects to be able to accommodate up to 400 in the near future.
The Executive Plaza is subleased from the New Life Church, an example of mixed-use opportunities, Byrd said; adjacent to the plaza, the church uses approximately 4,000 square feet for its weekly services.
The opportunity exists to access that 4,000-square-foot space for larger events, such as weddings or conferences, but it’s still in the planning stages.
For now, Byrd said, “This is an experiment to say, 'Hey Montrose, what do you think we need?'”
In addition to the 8,000 square feet now being used, another 8,000 square feet in the far north corner sits vacant. Byrd said she dreams that one day that space could be a youth center, with a job-mentoring program, and enough space leftover to accommodate a storage co-op area for small businesses.
“We are a small community — it just makes sense to pool our needs,” Byrd said.