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Beta Network

Inside a New Orleans Office Space Where Creativity is King



Innovation and entrepreneurship are mainstays of New Orleans these days. Like any ecosystem, the enviornment is a key influence in determining success for startup companies. Today, we go inside a new space from architect Marcel Wisznia that provides its tenants with more than four walls and a desk.

 

 

New Orleans was recently referred to as “the Cinderella of business improvement,” by Chief Executive Magazine. The publication ranked the city 13th in the nation, which is a huge jump from their spot at #27 last year. Start up companies have caught wind of New Orleans’ new pro business image, and so has architect Marcel Wisznia.

 

 

The creator of the Union Lofts and the Saratoga building picked up on the new trend and laid a creative hand on shared workspaces. 

 

 

Wisznia is an expert in funky spaces with personality, as evidenced by the art that fills the walls of his buildings. Local artist Terrence Sanders curates all of their buildings, allowing a functional living spaces to double as galleries for contemporary artists.  In Saratoga, Wisznia has managed to revamp tired and outdated architecture without threatening the historic elements that make the building significant.

 

 

Wisznia’s latest project is on the second floor of New Orleans’ first skyscraper, the Maritime Building. Beta is approximately 5,000 sq. feet of creative space where companies can bounce ideas off of each other. The shared workspace model isn’t new, but Beta distinguishes itself with an aesthetic that blends historic architecture with sleek design.

 

 

The space blends a minimalist philosophy with inviting, colorful accents. Although it’s highly modern, classic arched windows that overlook the CBD keep the office modern and bright. Director of Operations Chris Brancato is optimistic about Beta’s appeal to new, techy tenants. 

 

 

“Marcel’s vision was to turn it into a private suite, private office spaces," he said. "We had an opportunity to approach it from the ground-up with a design driven workspace.”

 

 

The first round of companies on board with Beta all signed leases for a year or longer, and these tenants will be “the determining factor as to where it goes,” Brancato said.  A few tenants are Nola Fashion Council, Apptitude, Circa, and Zydeco Media.

 

 

Zydeco is a young company based out of New Orleans that manages social media communication for restaurants. They’re a small start up, but they’re growing rapidly with 35 restaurant clients in the city and 25 in Dallas. We spoke with them about what it’s like to work in such a sleek, modern workspace.

 

 

Social Media Director Bryan Davis is more than pleased with the environment at Beta.  

 

 

“Beta is beautiful, it’s comfortable, it’s bright,” Davis said.

 

 

He also emphasized how effective the coworking model is for young businesses in similar stages of growth.

 

 

“We can coalesce resources and work towards a common goal," he said. "There’s a camaraderie in that type of environment.”

 

 

 
Zydeco used to operate out of Launchpad, which Davis said was a positive experience for a young start up.

 

“It was like elementary school in the sense that we made mistakes, but we had a lot of teachers to help us get it right.” Davis views the transition to Beta as a kind of graduation. “It’s the type of space we definitely see ourselves growing in.” 

 

 

Brancato is pleased to have the long-term leasers like Zydeco, but the space is beginning to include more “transient” users as well.  

 

 

“At first we weren’t sure if we wanted the ‘daily’ user, we were thinking long term leases only,” he said.

 

 

Once the people at Beta considered the location of their business and its potential appeal to people on the go, they decided to be more inclusive. They’re even creating a mobile app that will allow prospective tenants to buy a space on their phones and walk right in to a concierge that will greet them and direct them to their space. 

 

 

“It’s going to be pretty slick. We’re trying to digitize as much as possible,” Brancato said.

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

Published Daily