A new coworking space with over 90 offices has opened in Columbia with the goal of attracting Howard County entrepreneurs who are tired of the commute to Baltimore or Washington, D.C.

The 20,400-square-foot space at 8865 Stanford Blvd. will be the first Venture X location in Maryland and has already signed leases with 28 companies in industries including fitness, psychotherapy, clothing design and cybersecurity, franchise owner Dimitrios Topaltzas said during Wednesday’s grand opening. The brand hopes to take advantage of the growing demand for more flexible coworking space as the traditional office leasing market declines. Topaltzas is already making plans for a second Columbia location for Venture X, which has 130 offices in states like Texas, California and Colorado.

The new Venture X location was designed by Ron Brasher of Columbia’s Brasher Designs and the space was built by Pennsylvania-based Holland Construction. Topaltzas is an entrepreneur himself, having built several companies in the telecommunications industry before becoming an angel and private equity investor.

“One of the consistent challenges I had as an entrepreneur was finding good space,” Topaltzas said. “Especially in the startup phase, you were in lonely older darker type of office space because you were just kind of scrounging for what you could get.”

Coworking spaces like Venture X aim to offer a cheaper alternative to traditional offices, which have declined in popularity as remote and hybrid work has become the new normal. Venture X tries to offer some of the benefits of an office such as a place for meetings and the chance for more informal interactions with coworkers, but at a cheaper cost. The average membership for the common area of Venture X is around $195 a month, dedicated desk space is $395 a month and private offices start at $595 a month, Topaltzas said.

Topaltzas hopes to attract people who are tired of a long commute to D.C. or Baltimore and want to work where they live in suburban Howard County. He has already started construction on another Venture X location in the county, which will be located in a roughly 21,000-square-foot space in Columbia Town Center and open in late August.

Topaltzas views the two Columbia locations as serving different types of business. The Stanford Boulevard location is more focused on entrepreneurs, while he expects the Columbia Town Center location to cater more to lawyers and other professionals.

Venture X is not the only coworking space in the area that is trying to expand in Maryland. Founder Tammira Lucas is trying to raise $100,000 through crowdfunding to open a second Cube Cowork location in Baltimore or Atlanta.

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