Local News

Coworking space coming to Wheaton’s Sandberg building

Come next year, downtown Wheaton will be home to a new coworking space.

Wheaton City Council members have given the go-ahead for a coworking company to develop shared office space in a prominent storefront that for years had been a sports memorabilia and men’s clothing shop owned by the late businessman Robert Sandberg.

Council members unanimously agreed to grant a special-use permit allowing a new Brick & Mortar location to take up the main floor of the Sandberg building at Main and Front streets.

Brick & Mortar executives said they’re responding to demand for an office-type environment as employers make remote work permanent and their employees seek a reprieve from the isolation and loneliness of logging in from home.

“It winds up being a good fit for really white-collar workers who are looking to have an office closer in proximity to their house,” said Andrew Nast, Brick & Mortar’s managing partner.

The company will modernize the exterior of the corner building at the center of a long-running legal tug of war with the city over code violations and the condition of Sandberg’s properties downtown.

“Needless to say, you’re taking on a project that’s been a challenge in this community for 50 years, so we very much look forward to working with you,” Mayor Phil Suess told Nast on May 23.

The Downtown Wheaton Association released a statement supporting Brick & Mortar’s plans.

“Brick & Mortar’s interest in redeveloping this building reflects the exponential growth downtown Wheaton is experiencing, and we are thrilled to be a driving force behind economic development in our community,” the statement read.

The company will renovate the entire building, both floors at the same time. On the exterior, the cedar shaker awning will be removed and new windows will be replaced.

“We will end up completely gutting the interior and rebuilding it back entirely different than what’s there currently,” Adam Clabaugh, Nast’s business partner, told the Daily Herald.

Currently, the building is vacant. After the gut renovation, Brick & Mortar plans to continue to use the second floor as apartments.

“How many will be up to some architect review. Four to five is our thought,” Nast said.

The coworking space will offer many of the amenities of a company office: happy hour events, high-speed internet, cold brew coffee on tap, filtered water stations and a “micro-grocer” with snacks available for purchase.

The company has three pricing plans for private and dedicated spaces, open seating and hourly reservations booked online. A day pass to its downtown Park Ridge location costs $25, while unlimited memberships are $250.

Attorneys, interior designers and real estate professionals rent out the private and dedicated spaces on a recurring basis, Nast said.

The company expects 25 to 45 members visiting the location daily within a 25-mile radius. In addition to that recurring membership base, the company sees an average of 50 new people a month coming by the space with a day pass as a meeting attendee or member guest.

“They’re not tied to a location. Their work is not location specific. And so what Brick & Mortar really offers is an Airbnb for coworking,” Nast said.

The coworking space will cover at least 7,000 square feet. Nast said he expects it to open in 2023.