According to Todd Greer, managing partner at Exchange 202, arguably Mobile’s first bona fide coworking space, there is a palpable buzz in the local business community about this big-city co-op model. Mobile is in good company; from 2010 to 2015, there’s been an estimated fivefold increase in the rise of coworking office spaces worldwide.

“We’ve seen insurance costs continue to skyrocket and more contract labor used instead of full-time employees. Most recent estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics have indicated that by 2020 at least 40 percent of the total U.S. workforce is going to be contingent workers not tethered to specific company,” Greer said. “In that same time frame, about 50 percent of the workforce will be [made up] of Millennials who want a collaborative work environment.”

Coworking has become so popular locally, in fact, there are an estimated five such spots dotting the Port City landscape less than a year after the Exchange threw open its doors last October. Greer feels the local market can sustain such rapid growth as long as each venue maintains a strong focus on its particular niche, otherwise oversaturation could occur.

One of these new spaces, slated for a mid-July kickoff on the ground floor of the Marine Street Lofts apartments, will be the Container Yard. Founded in partnership with Stacy Wellborn, Johnny Gwin and local property developer Taylor Atchison, this co-op site will be aimed at individuals just starting out as entrepreneurs, as opposed to more established freelanceers or businesses setting up shop downtown.

“At Marine Street Lofts we were looking at ways to empower our tenants by giving them choices. People today look at many factors when contemplating a move into a new residence and want multiple options,” Atchison said. “Coworking gives our tenants a way to develop their own business ideas and/or even get out of them if they realize the venture isn’t working out the way they’d hoped.”

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Commercial real estate moves
A new Birmingham-based Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is opening its first location in South Alabama this month at 1539 U.S. Highway 98, Suite 201, in Daphne. The new site will mark the 14th Taziki’s franchise overall in Alabama. The floor plan is 3,095 square feet and will employ upwards of 50 local workers when fully staffed. The restaurant will also include outdoor patio seating. Local franchise owner Mark Hemby has expressed plans to add at least two more Taziki eateries in the Mobile and Baldwin county region within the next several years.

Paul Milazzo, State Farm insurance agent, has leased 1,250 square feet of office space at 440 Azalea Road in Mobile and is expected to open in early July. Stirling Properties’ Angela McArthur worked for the property owner and Ann White-Spunner with The McAleer-Tunstall Co. represented the tenant.

Physicians Health Solutions, a medical weight loss clinic, has leased a 1,450-square-foot medical office at 6420 Hillcrest Park Court, Suite A, in Mobile and is expected to open Aug. 1. McArthur represented both the tenant and property owner.

The Alabama Department of Public Health recently leased a 3,000-square-foot office space in Mobile at 3103 Airport Blvd. and is now open. Stirling Properties leasing executive Jason Scott represented the property owner.

John Delchamps, associate broker with the Merrill P. Thomas Co., represented the acquisition of two acres of commercial property for $231,000 that will be located off Lakeside Drive for a new company operational expansion. Robert Cook with Vallas Realty worked for the seller.

Mobile Bookseller, a 1,100-square-foot used book retailer located inside the Skyland Shopping Center at 3990 Government St., is under new ownership. LaGrange, Georgia-based Melanie and Tom Durham recently purchased the 40-year-old West Mobile business and have invested more than $1,000 in cosmetic renovations.

As reported last week by Lagniappe’s food critic, Lickin Good Donuts is holding a grand opening June 2 for its new, 1,000-square-foot site situated at 3170 Dauphin St. in the same shopping center as Greer’s Cash Saver. Located almost directly behind Taco Bell, the popular confectionery will include a drive-through. This is the second location opened by Texas native Sam Heng, who also owns the Lickin Good in Saraland, where he resides with his family.
The Peninsula of Mobile earns recognition
Debi Foster, director of The Peninsula of Mobile, was recently presented with the 2016 “Group of the Year” award during the 18th annual Alabama Water Rally section of the National River Rally conference held downtown. She was joined at the event by board co-chairman Kathy Sanders and advisory board member Aven Warner.

“We are shocked and honored to receive this award from such a respected organization as the Alabama Rivers Alliance,” Foster said. “We look at ourselves as an economic redevelopment response for surrounding areas still suffering from the lingering aftereffects of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster,”

Located south of Interstate 10 in the southernmost part of Mobile, The Peninsula is the section of Dauphin Island Parkway/State 163 bounded by Dog River on the south and west, to the east by Mobile Bay and a northernmost demarcation line defined by The Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, home of the North American headquarters for Airbus.

The 5-mile-long community of nearly 13,000 residents is crisscrossed by creeks and bayous, combined with estuaries and marshes protecting Dog River, its tributaries and Mobile Bay. The habitat provides critical breeding grounds for a diverse population of local wildlife.

Established in 2013, The Peninsula of Mobile was created with the mission of working toward developing a cleaner environment by educating the local community about sustaining the region’s unique and varied biospheres.