Sarah Asch Austin American-Statesman
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Do you run your business from home and feel like your bursting at the seams? Whether you need a space to work or a place to store your inventory "XSpace" can become whatever you need it to be.
XSpace broke ground last month on a new kind of building for a new kind of business.
The new company offers condominium-style units for entrepreneurs, collectors and hobbyists to use as storage, offices, showrooms or anything the owner wants.
The business model is based on a successful product that co-founder Tim Manson pioneered in Australia nearly two decades ago. The new location near Mansfield Dam on RM 620 represents the first of many planned U.S. XSpace sites, Mason said.
Manson said in its original iteration "Down Under," this kind of space was designed to fill the gap between home storage and big, expensive industrial storage options. The U.S. version still offers that option for buyers, as well as a model for business owners who want to use the units to grow their companies.
Manson said he expects the unit owners to range from wine enthusiasts with big collections to antique car owners to art collectors to entrepreneurs.
The building will start with 106 units ranging from 300 to 1,500 square feet, although co-founder Byron Smith said that buyers can purchase multiple smaller units and combine them if they want. Over 30% of the units have sold and construction is scheduled to finish early next year, he said.
“The way we build the units, they have really high ceilings so you can add a mezzanine level in,” he said. “We offer a blank canvas so we give you the unit and it’s up to use it and customize it how you want.”
Smith said the sky's the limit — the only limitations are owners can’t live in the units or run retail storefronts out of them.
The building will have an HVAC system, WiFii and temperature controls, and it has a system to suck out exhaust fumes since owners will have access to drive their cars into the buildings up to their units. The XSpace facility will also be equipped with 24/7 security. Each floor includes a kitchenette and restrooms with shower amenities on levels two and four.
Smith and Manson said they are trying to create a community of interesting people to populate XSpace in Lake Travis. The site includes a lounge overlooking the lake for people to mingle.
“We’ve brought that concept to America, making it bigger, better, faster, stronger and we’ve added a community aspect,” Smith said. “We’re not just building warehouses, we're building a community of interesting, successful people.”
Several household names have already purchased units, including Major League Baseball star Roger Clemens and Houston Texan Kasey Studdard, both former University of Texas players. Clemens bought a unit for his charitable foundation and Studdard for his Whitfield’s Barbecue business. Studdard said he was drawn to the unique business model of XSpaces and attracted to the location.
“What drew me in was that it’s different. No one’s really doing it,” he said. “You actually own the place and do what you want with it.”
Studdard plans to use the bottom floor of his unit as a prep kitchen for his business and the mezzanine level as an office. He is also working out details for a food trailer location onsite, he said.
Smith said the company has its eyes on locations in other parts of Austin, as well as in Houston, Dallas and beyond.
“We’re going to build 100 of these in America and we chose Texas and in particular Austin because that’s a good starting point,” he said. “We’re building our company in Texas.”
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