For 30 years, the Omni Business Center has offered business people an executive suite at 111 S. Whittier near Towne East Square for office space with shared services, such as a receptionist, conference rooms, break areas and voice and data services.
“We’ve kind of had to adjust our business model accordingly to kind of try to stay on top of things,” says president Buff Farrow.
His latest attempt at that is something called the Lounge.
“Co-working is obviously kind of a big deal right now,” Farrow says. “That’s kind of what the genesis of it was.”
He converted five offices into a lounge area that can bring together people of different ages and demographics, including his tenants and anyone else who wants to rent the space.
Farrow says there are a couple of things driving the need for the Lounge.
First, he says businesses used to be much more private.
“Now things are … just the opposite with Facebook and social media,” he says.
With things such as 1 Million Cups, Farrow says business people are no longer afraid to share what they’re doing.
Also, he says home entertaining for business people used to be much more popular, but now people don’t have as much time or energy for that.
“And yet there’s still that need for that interaction,” Farrow says. “Now you see all the people that are in the Paneras and the Starbucks, and they’re meeting clients there.”
The Lounge is available for day or evening gatherings and has audio-visual equipment and an area for simple bar and catering services.
“It’s not intended to be for bachelor parties,” Farrow says. “We want to keep a certain decorum and professionalism with it.”
He says birthday parties are fine, though. He’d like evening get-togethers to have a speakeasy feel, he says.
“It just kind of has a cool ambiance.”