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Comerica Bank Opening $5M Coworking Space

Business

Comerica Bank | Image by Shutterstock

Comerica has announced plans to open a $5 million coworking space for small businesses in Dallas, nicknamed “BusinessHQ.”

The project will be the first of its kind for the largest bank headquartered in the Lone Star State. If successful, the idea could be duplicated across the country.

According to the bank’s chief community officer, Irvin Ashford Jr., the initiative involves more than simply setting up a couple of printers and a coffee machine.

“This is a very large financial commitment,” said Ashford. “This is not us painting the walls and putting [up] a TV on the walls. This is the real deal.”

The new project will see the first floor of the bank’s 5201 East R. L. Thornton Fwy. converted location into a hub dedicated to small business operators located in southern Dallas. Free workspaces, high-speed Wi-Fi, video conference rooms, and other amenities will line the 8,000-square-foot space.

The coworking floor will accommodate upwards of 25 businesses each day. To use the space, they must undergo registration and vetting to obtain a membership. According to Ashford, small businesses surveyed ahead of the project revealed a desire to ensure the space remains a tight-knit community.

“We did focus groups and met with the community, and they said they didn’t want this to be a free for all,” he said. “They wanted exclusivity, and they wanted a safe space to share ideas, network and interact with one another.”

The space will operate primarily from Monday through Friday, with some additional weekend opening hours. Memberships will be granted for six months, with eligibility open to businesses operating in a high-need and high-opportunity area while generating less than $1 million per year in revenue.

Some local groups have already made arrangements to begin using the space. For example, the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Comerica to grant its top clients special memberships. The selected businesses will have twice weekly access to the first floor, along with one-on-one consultations with small business lenders.

The Veteran Women’s Enterprise Center will similarly select businesses for its incubator memberships, providing them with dedicated space and personalized support.

“You have a lot of real estate, so how are you going to use it for good?” said Brandon Jones, an external affairs manager of the project and regional external affairs manager with Comerica.

A diverse cross-section of local community organizations will join the project as advisors. This includes organizations like the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, BCL of Texas, Impact Ventures, DreamSpring, Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of Texas DFW, National Youth Chamber of Commerce powered by Project Still I Rise, SCORE Dallas, and the City of Dallas.

“To ensure this initiative is truly community-driven, we plan to empower our broad network of strategic community partners to facilitate programming and assist in identifying small businesses for BusinessHQ opportunities,” said Jones.

According to Ashford, the latest announced project from Comerica follows millions of dollars invested in Dallas in the past. The small business center will expand on previous initiatives, like supporting financial literacy programs, explained Ashford.

“If you have a business, then you can create jobs and can create income,” he said.

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