WORKSUITES (formerly Meridian Business Centers) rebrands and ramps up expansion amidst increasing demand for flexible workspace

By: Tosha Bontrager
| Published 04/14/2019


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- WORKSUITES’ newest location, a 27,000 SF space at 5700 Tennyson in the Legacy submarket, opened March 1, 2019. The Dallas-based flexible workspace provider has opened 3 new locations in the Houston market in the last 6 months, and a location at 2626 Cole in Uptown Dallas is under construction and slated to open June 15th. The company has plans to add 4-6 more locations in the next year. This would bring a total of roughly 250,000 SF of new coworking space to market in a period of 18 months.

On February 1st, the company rebranded from Meridian Business Centers to WORKSUITES. In business since 2001, the company’s primary offering is individual offices to professionals and entrepreneurs. “When we got into the business, the industry was trying to get the term ‘business centers’ to stick, and it just never did” said CEO Flip Howard. “Meridian Business Centers” was a lot of syllables that didn’t do anything to describe what we did. WORKSUITES sums it up much more succinctly.”

Only a few years ago, executive suites and coworking spaces were two distinct things. Recently, however, virtually every new coworking space employs a hybrid model and dedicates a vast majority of its square footage to private offices; and most traditional executive suite providers now offer coworking and other flexible office memberships. The blurred line between the two is leading to the rapid adoption of the term “Coworking” as an umbrella term for flexible workspace in general.

Dallas leads the nation in coworking growth percentage. Both the amount of square footage of flexible workspace, and the number of companies providing such spaces locally have more than doubled in the last two years. Nationally, coworking companies accounted for over half of the total gains in office occupancy in 2018.

“When WeWork and the other coworking companies entered the Dallas market we were initially worried that they would cut into a fixed amount of demand, but we have seen the exact opposite” Howard says. “The flood of new coworking spaces in town has actually increased demand faster than supply can keep up. The awareness of commitment-free, turnkey offices as an alternative to long-term leases has skyrocketed in the last few years, and as a result, our existing locations are fuller than they have ever been, our new spaces are filling up faster than ever before, and the amount of inquiries we receive keeps increasing every quarter.”

While the rise of coworking may have increased demand across the board for all types of shared workspace, it has also altered the landscape in which traditionally private office focused suites operate. Coworking users expect a wide range of amenities, and they expect more simple terms and straightforward pricing than executive suites traditionally offered. “We, and all of our peers who have been in this industry for a while, have had to step up our game and revamp our pricing and terms, our product menus and services offered. Nowadays, people view us as space-as-a-service, rather than as a real estate transaction.”

But this does not mean that WORKSUITES has shifted to a casual feel or open-plan workspaces. Flip continues, “Entrepreneurs recognize that they accomplish more when they leave the distractions found at home. However, many of the trendier coworking concepts that have exploded onto the scene can be just as distracting. The hip, lofty look has serious downsides when it comes to noise, privacy and professionality. Our clients come to us looking for a modern office space where they can discuss ideas with accomplished professionals, and then retreat to their own private office to get work done. We know our niche, and our niche is definitely growing, not shrinking.”

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