SOUTHFIELD — Arbor Lofts residential development in Southfield has opened a a ground floor space — called its Koala Entrepreneurial Co-work — that will serve as the working home to more than 20 entrepreneurs in the next few months.
“We felt that there was a need in this market for this type of office space and opportunity for entrepreneurs and we wanted to make the location appealing, bright and convenient,” said developer Pamela Applebaum. “Our business partners who use the Koala Co-work space can walk in one day and be up and running in minutes. They have their own space, access to our gym and more.”
Opened in September, numerous entrepreneurs have already started working at the Koala Co-work. One of the entrepreneurs who moved in to the Co-work is Paris A. Jones, owner of Paris Films. Jones felt that the location is an ideal place to generate ideas for the growing film company.
“We love the open space and the commons area provides great, natural light,” Jones said. “When I saw it I knew it would be a great place to be creative and let my imagination run free.”
One of the other entrepreneurs working at the Koala Co-work is Michael Keaton, whose company, Colorstripp designs, engineers, and installs smart electronics systems for modern day homes.
“Distributing a workforce can be a challenge depending on where you locate home base,” Keaton said. “Koala gives us quick access to all of the major cities that we service including Bloomfield Hills, Ann Arbor, Metro Detroit, and even Toledo, which keeps us efficient.
“The most exciting part, though, is being able to rub shoulders with young potential talent from the surrounding colleges, including Lawrence Tech. We rely on tech savvy students to get excited about what we are doing in hopes of finding the creative spark that can help power a technical team.”
The open work area also gives a feel of collaboration to the Koala Co-work, which is intended, one of the designers said.
“There’s a totally different feeling walking into a sterile office building and being confronted with off-the-shelf furniture and a bunch of dividers, than if you enter a space with bespoke light fixtures and tables and no visual barriers. The hope for the space is not only that it creates a productive work space, but also a synergy between users that is productive in its own way.”
“We purposely chose a co-work space to be able to think outside of our particular company mindset,” Keaton added. “The amenities definitely help but specifically we chose Koala because of their handpicked young entrepreneurial feeling that can influence an office that might otherwise clamp down creatively.”
Other businesses at the Koala Co-work include Detroit Modular, a boutique synthesizer and electronics space that caters to the electronic musician; and Outdoorventures, a company that provides outdoor activities and outings for enthusiasts of all ages. Volte Photos, a custom photography service, and Le Salon Couture, a bridal service provider, also have moved in to the Koala Co-work.
The concept of this Entrepreneurial Co-work was designed by Jodie Roth Cooper and Jordan Gravely, graduates of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills. Koala provides a working space, a conference room, and other resources for professionals who are building their business and require rented working space.
“I think what sets the Entrepreneur Co-work at Arbor Lofts apart is that the space is efficient, yet remains flexible and open,” Roth Cooper said. “Since the decision was made to design custom furniture for the space there’s a higher level of consideration for the would-be users of the space.”