18 May

Suites near courthouse working for attorneys

By Max Marbut, Associate Editor

It’s only about 600 steps and 5.3 minutes from the Duval County Courthouse.

That’s part of what’s made Executive Suite Professionals such a success since it opened in July 2014, said Lisa Gufford.

She and some partners built out most of the 14th floor at EverBank Center to offer small businesses small office suites and meeting rooms with a Class A address Downtown at 301 W. Bay St.

The space includes traditional office amenities like mailboxes, shipping and receiving services and a coffee lounge. It has a central reception area and shared support staff.

Gufford said the response was so strong that nine months after opening, a second phase of EPS was added, for a total of 31,000 square feet including 93 suites and six meeting and conference rooms occupied by more than 150 entrepreneurs, small business owners — and mostly, attorneys and legal-related service providers.

Gufford said Tuesday EPS is 95 percent leased. Eighty percent of the tenants are solo practitioner lawyers or small firms and about 15 percent are court reporters.

“We’ve turned into a legal business center,” she said.

A similar business model also is working on the Southbank.

Clyde Yandell opened Intelligent Office at Riverplace Tower in February 2015.

His operation specializes in the “virtual office” environment, with 400 mailboxes and a personalized telephone answering service aimed at businesses that don’t really need an office Downtown, but like to have a Class A address in the iconic building at 1301 Riverplace Blvd.

There’s also a full-time support staff in a central services area and amenities.

The 11 office suites are 100 percent leased — and there’s a waiting list, Yandell said.

“I like to say we’re a bigger fish in a smaller pond,” he said.

About 20 percent of his tenants and virtual office clients are attorneys and the rest are mostly one-person businesses such as consultants and contractors.

Yandell said his company provides “office infrastructure on demand” since clients can choose the level of services and only pay for what they need.

“We do the mundane things and they use the space to grow their business at its own pace,” he said.

Gufford’s second Downtown business service project opened Monday at 225 Water St., based on a need she discovered through the office suite experience

Coastal Conference Center is focused exclusively on executive meeting space that’s available by the hour or day. There are 15 break-out, meeting and conference rooms available, including a 36-seater with a panoramic view of the St. Johns River.

Meeting supplies and services such as copying and an on-site notary public are available, along with beverages and even catering, if a client requests it.

“It was something that just wasn’t available, but now it is,” said Gufford.


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