The Ion now officially has more coworking space. Photo via thecommondesk.com

The coworking space in the Ion has increased by 50 percent thanks to a recent expansion project.

Dallas-based Common Desk has officially delivered on its project to expand the coworking space in the Ion that it originally opened on the second floor two years ago. Now, coworkers have access to a total of 86,400 square feet of space, including newly opened space on the fourth floor. The company has agreed to a 10-year commitment to the Ion with the expansion.

“This expansion of Common Desk at The Ion was designed specifically to complement the existing amenities and serve remote and hybrid work styles," Austin Gauley, head of design at Common Desk says in the news release. "There's a variety of video conferencing room types—from multiple individual private rooms, to a large group presentation-style room—all equipped with state-of-the-art technology that is also user-friendly.

"We doubled down on outfitting our space with more art from local artists and creative works that reflect the community," Gauley continues. "Altogether, we've built a range of workspace solutions to fuel creativity and productivity."

Common Desk has grown in Houston over the past few years, opening its sixth location earlier this year. The Ion location is home to many Houston startups and entrepreneurs. Passes, desks, and offices are all available at the Ion's coworking space.

"Common Desk's expansion at the Ion is a testament to the community and experience we've created here," Jan Odegard, executive director at the Ion, says in the release. "Accessibility to connections and an array of amenities and resources continues to drive traffic for us, and we are thrilled to welcome the anticipated growth of new like-minded individuals coming to the Ion daily."

Passes, desks, and offices are all available at the Ion's coworking space. Photo via thecommondesk.com

Houston's coworking space is growing. Photo courtesy of The Cannon

Houston sees growth in coworking space, rises in national ranks for 2023

growing and flexing

Houston continues to grow its coworking space across the city — and the progress is notable just between the first and second quarters of 2023, a recent report shows.

When it comes to coworking space growth, Houston saw an increase of 16 percent between June and March of 2023, reports CoworkingCafe. This stat means Houston outpaced the national average, which is 10 percent. Houston, which now has a reported 208 coworking and flex office space facilities, edged out Boston in the overall rankings of cities based on number of coworking spaces.

Houston ranks No. 7 now behind Manhattan, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Dallas - Fort Worth, and Atlanta, respectively.

When it came to the amount of space coworkers in Houston have, the Bayou City reported "an equally impressive expansion in terms of square footage," reads the report, "the market logged the highest increase in this metric and ended at more than 4,160,000 square feet of coworking space."

Nationally, coworking space totals 120 million square feet, which is a 6 percent increase between Q1 and Q2 and about 1.74 percent of the total office space nationwide.

While Houston saw growth in its coworking space, half of the top 25 markets for coworking have seen decreases in 2023 so far. Philadelphia, Seattle, the Bay Area, and Denver saw a decreased square footage average, but this trend isn't reflected when it comes to the number of coworking spots, which "likely equates to an increased focus on smaller coworking spaces across the nation," the report finds.

"With falling property values in some cities and rising interest rates, the commercial real estate industry is at a crossroads," says Doug Ressler, business intelligence manager at Yardi Matrix, in the report. "Many companies still aren't certain the number of employees who will be in their physical office space in the near or long term. That has led to firms doing smaller projects with startups, like pilot tests, instead of larger-scale purchases."

In January, Texas coworking company Common Desk announced its sixth Houston-area location. Common Desk also shared that it's expanding in the Ion last December, and that construction is ongoing.

The Cannon, a Houston-based coworking company, its latest locations in Fish Creek and The Woodlands, which is a partnership with Amegy Bank.

The Ion has announced the latest companies to move into the hub. Photo courtesy of The Ion

The Ion announces new tenants that have recently moved in, expanded within the hub

moving in

Several organizations — from tech startups to a nonprofit — have moved into the Ion recently to either relocate or expand their presence in Houston.

The Ion District announced new tenants today, bringing the total space leased to 86 percent, according to a news release. The recent additions to the Ion include:

  • Carbon Clean announced its new United States HQ last month. The startup’s technology has captured nearly two million tons of carbon dioxide at almost 50 sites around the world.
  • Cognite is a Norwegian software company for asset-heavy industries that turns industrial data into customer value.
  • OpenStax, a Houston-based nonprofit, is publishing openly licensed college textbooks that are free online and low cost in print.
  • Synopic is a California-based startup that's building next-gen depth-enabled cameras to improve visualization and decision making during medical procedures.
  • Houston-based Motif Neurotech, a medical equipment manufacturing startup, is working to develop minimally invasive electronic solutions for mental health.
  • RedSwan CRE, founded in Houston, is a crowdfunding-style investment platform and marketplace of tokenized commercial real estate.
  • Nauticus Robotics, a marine robotics hardtech and software company, recently went public.
  • Rice University’s Office of Innovation and its Nexus Lab, which is under construction and designed for prototyping and scaling-up technologies, is increasing its presence in the Ion.
  • Also noteworthy is the expanded office of Ara Partners, which first moved into the Ion last year. The Houston-based, global private equity firm is focused on investing in carbon decentralization technology.
  • Dallas-headquartered flexible workspace provider Common Desk announced that it would expand its space by nearly 50 percent at the Ion last December.

“Welcoming this amazing lineup of new tenants, across the breadth of sectors they represent, demonstrates that the Ion is the place to be and do business in Houston,” says Jan E. Odegard, executive director of the Ion, in the news release. “By continuing to fill our space with new innovators across all these different offerings, from all around the globe, we’ve become the home for collisions that will create solutions to the biggest problems facing our world today.

"We pride ourselves on advancing the diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that will propel our world forward. Our inspiring new tenants will do just that,” he continues.

The Ion's grand opening took place just about a year ago, and existing tenants include Chevron, Microsoft, (Schlumberger) SLB Innovation Factori, Houston Methodist. The growing Ion District is home to more than 300 businesses, including corporates, small businesses, startups, and restaurants.

“The Ion continues to see leasing demand from companies that understand the value of a creative and active work environment,” says Bryson Grover, investment manager of real estate development at Rice Management Co. “Companies are choosing Ion District because it offers more than just a solution for space needs. Workers are given the opportunity to experience a sense of community that brings together like-minded individuals and those with different perspectives.”

North Houston can get to work at the new Common Desk space. Photo courtesy of Common Desk

Texas-based coworking brand opens sixth Houston location in bustling mixed-use hub

get to work

Remote and mobile workers in north Houston now have a new space to set up shop. Common Desk, the Texas-based coworking and hospitality brand, has opened the doors to its sixth Houston location in Spring's City Place mixed-use hub.

Common Desk — City Place (1401 Lake Plaza Dr.) offers workers more than 25,000 square feet of workspace across the first and second floors, per a release. Members can expect five conference rooms, 62 private offices, 5 office suites, and generous shared coworking space.

Amenities include convenient chat booths, wellness room, full kitchen, and Fiction Coffee espresso bar. Members can also enjoy a furnished terrace on the second floor.

All this comes as part of what Common Desk calls its "lineup of perks": an open network of locations, bottomless craft coffee, easy conference room bookings, and fast, secure Wi-Fi.

Playing to the nearby Woodlands landscape, Common Desk - City Place is adorned with deep, earthy tones and white oak accents, native Texas floral and botanical prints, organic leafy murals by local artists, a wall adorned with tree slices, and antique decor, per press materials. Large windows and terraces let the sunlight in and offer a glimpse of outdoor nature.

“As Common Desk continues to grow into experiential assets across Houston, City Place became the clear choice for a suburban location in Spring,” said Dawson Williams, head of real estate at Common Desk, in a statement. “The building, ownership, and mixed use development all align with exactly what we're looking for in a new location. We're excited to bring our daymaking experiences to City Place.”

First launched in Dallas in 2012, Common Desk recently announced its expanded space in The Ion, as well as a location in downtown. The company has grown to 22 locations in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. The company has also branched out to two North Carolina cities: Wilmington and Raleigh.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

The Ion has announced that it is adding an additional 28,000 square feet of coworking space. Photo courtesy of the Ion

Houston innovation hub expands coworking space

more room at the Ion

The Ion has announced it will bring more coworking space to its facility.

The innovation hub in Midtown, which is owned and operated by Rice Management Company, expanded its partnership with Dallas-based Common Desk to the Ion’s fourth floor. The addition brings another 28,000 square feet of workspace to the building.

“When people work in an inspiring place that fosters community, going into work is exciting. The Ion’s experience with Common Desk proves it,” says Jan E. Odegard, executive director of the Ion. “This rapid expansion signals that the Ion is the place to be for growing organizations, and we will soon be releasing new programs that expand our value proposition for startups, investors, corporations, academic institutions, and the community.”

According to the release, Common Desk's Ion space — originally opened in August of 2021 — reached max capacity in less than a year and now has a waiting list. The new combined space will total 86,400 square feet of coworking space for Houston entrepreneurs.

"With RMC’s support, we created a thoughtful design, along with the amenities and memberships offered,” says Common Desk's Head of Real Estate Dawson Williams in the release. “One year later, this space in the Ion is a game-changer for Houston’s innovators. It’s exciting that we’re already expanding because so many rapidly growing companies want to be inside the Ion and experience everything it has to offer.”

Founded in 2012, Common Desk has grown to over 20 locations and counting in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Wilmington, and Raleigh. In Houston, the company has opened coworking space in several locations, most recently at the POST in downtown.

The Ion's Common Desk space originally opened last summer. Rendering courtesy of Common Desk

The newest coworking spot is in POST Houston. Photo courtesy of Common Desk

Texas coworking company opens latest location in downtown Houston

ready to cowork

A Texas-based coworking company has rolled out its fifth Houston-area location just on the edge of downtown.

Common Desk has opened in 32,000 square feet of space in the POST Houston, a recently renovated historic building built in 1934 at 401 Franklin St.

“Common Desk has built a homey office environment that integrates beautifully with the industrial architecture at POST Houston,” says Kirby Liu, director at Lovett Commercial, in a news release. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome organizations big and small to office at our development.”

The POST Houston is on the edge of downtown. Photo via posthtx.com

The new location includes over 24,000 square feet of workspace, seven conference rooms, 43 private offices, a dedicated desk room, and shared coworking space. Additionally, Common Desk opened seven team suites on the first and second floors that are managed by CBRE. Tenants in these spaces will have access to Common Desk’s shared areas. Just like other locations, member amenities include:

  • Chat booths
  • A wellness room
  • Full kitchen bottomless drip coffee
  • Wifi access
  • Fiction Coffee espresso bar
  • A 32-seat training room on the first floor

POST Houston is the home to 713 Music Hall venue, POST Market food hall, and Outpost rooftop event space.

Founded in 2012, Common Desk has grown to 22 locations and counting in Dallas, Houston, Austin, Wilmington, and Raleigh. In Houston, the company has opened coworking space in five locations, including:

The company also has a location in Spring in City Place.

“We're incredibly excited to be a part of the POST Houston development and to provide an outlet for companies, entrepreneurs and freelancers to experience their workdays in such a magical and inspiring setting,” says Dawson Williams, head of real estate at Common Desk.

Common Desk in POST Houston has an espresso bar for coworkers. Photo courtesy of Common Desk

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Texas nonprofit grants $68.5M to Houston organizations for recruitment, research

Three prominent institutions in Houston will be able to snag a trio of high-profile cancer researchers thanks to $12 million in new funding from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

The biggest recruitment award — $6 million — went to the University of Texas MD Anderson Center to lure researcher Xiling Shen away from the Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation in Los Angeles.

Shen is chief scientific officer at the nonprofit Terasaki Institute. His lab there studies precision medicine, including treatments for cancer, from a “systems biology perspective.”

He also is co-founder and former CEO of Xilis, a Durham, North Carolina-based oncology therapy startup that raised $70 million in series A funding in 2021. Before joining the institute in 2021, the Stanford University graduate was an associate professor at Duke University in Durham.

Shen and Xilis aren’t strangers to MD Anderson.

In 2023, MD Anderson said it planned to use Xilis’ propriety MicroOrganoSphere (MOS) technology for development of novel cancer therapies.

“Our research suggests the MOS platform has the potential to offer new capabilities and to improve the efficiency of developing innovative drugs and cell therapies over current … models, which we hope will bring medicines to patients more quickly,” Shen said in an MD Anderson news release.

Here are the two other Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) awards that will bring noted cancer researchers to Houston:

  • $4 million to attract David Sarlah to Rice University from the University of Illinois, where he is an associate professor of chemistry. Sarlah’s work includes applying the principles of chemistry to creation of new cancer therapies.
  • $2 million to lure Vishnu Dileep to the Baylor College of Medicine from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he is a postdoctoral fellow. His work includes the study of cancer genomes.

CPRIT also handed out more than $56.5 million in grants and awards to seven institutions in the Houston area. Here’s the rundown:

  • MD Anderson Cancer Center — Nearly $25.6 million
  • Baylor College of Medicine — Nearly $11.5 million
  • University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston — More than $6 million
  • Rice University — $4 million
  • University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston — More than $3.5 million
  • Methodist Hospital Research Institute — More than $3.3 million
  • University of Houston — $1.4 million

Dr. Pavan Reddy, a CPRIT scholar who is a professor at the Baylor College of Medicine and director of its Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Care Center, says the CPRIT funding “will help our investigators take chances and explore bold ideas to make innovative discoveries.”

The Houston-area funding was part of nearly $99 million in grants and awards that CPRIT recently approved.

Houston space company's lunar lander touches down on the moon in historic mission

touchdown

A private lander on Thursday made the first U.S. touchdown on the moon in more than 50 years, but managed just a weak signal back until flight controllers scrambled to gain better contact.

Despite the spotty communication, Intuitive Machines, the company that built and managed the craft, confirmed that it had landed upright. But it did not provide additional details, including whether the lander had reached its intended destination near the moon’s south pole. The company ended its live webcast soon after identifying a lone, weak signal from the lander.

“What we can confirm, without a doubt, is our equipment is on the surface of the moon,” mission director Tim Crain reported as tension built in the company’s Houston control center.

Added Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus: “I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface and we are transmitting. Welcome to the moon.”

Data was finally starting to stream in, according to a company announcement two hours after touchdown.

The landing put the U.S. back on the surface for the first time since NASA’s famed Apollo moonwalkers.

Intuitive Machines also became the first private business to pull off a lunar landing, a feat achieved by only five countries. Another U.S. company, Astrobotic Technology, gave it a shot last month, but never made it to the moon, and the lander crashed back to Earth. Both companies are part of a NASA-supported program to kick-start the lunar economy.

Astrobotic was among the first to relay congratulations. “An incredible achievement. We can’t wait to join you on the lunar surface in the near future,” the company said via X, formerly Twitter.

Intuitive Machines “aced the landing of a lifetime,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson tweeted.

The final few hours before touchdown were loaded with extra stress when the lander's laser navigation system failed. The company's flight control team had to press an experimental NASA laser system into action, with the lander taking an extra lap around the moon to allow time for the last-minute switch.

With this change finally in place, Odysseus descended from a moon-skimming orbit and guided itself toward the surface, aiming for a relatively flat spot among all the cliffs and craters near the south pole.

As the designated touchdown time came and went, controllers at the company's command center anxiously awaited a signal from the spacecraft some 250,000 miles (400,000 kilometers) away. After close to 15 minutes, the company announced it had received a weak signal from the lander.

Launched last week, the six-footed carbon fiber and titanium lander — towering 14 feet (4.3 meters) — carried six experiments for NASA. The space agency gave the company $118 million to build and fly the lander, part of its effort to commercialize lunar deliveries ahead of the planned return of astronauts in a few years.

Intuitive Machines' entry is the latest in a series of landing attempts by countries and private outfits looking to explore the moon and, if possible, capitalize on it. Japan scored a lunar landing last month, joining earlier triumphs by Russia, U.S., China and India.

The U.S. bowed out of the lunar landscape in 1972 after NASA's Apollo program put 12 astronauts on the surface. Astrobotic of Pittsburgh gave it a shot last month, but was derailed by a fuel leak that resulted in the lander plunging back through Earth's atmosphere and burning up.

Intuitive Machines’ target was 186 miles (300 kilometers) shy of the south pole, around 80 degrees latitude and closer to the pole than any other spacecraft has come. The site is relatively flat, but surrounded by boulders, hills, cliffs and craters that could hold frozen water, a big part of the allure. The lander was programmed to pick, in real time, the safest spot near the so-called Malapert A crater.

The solar-powered lander was intended to operate for a week, until the long lunar night.

Besides NASA’s tech and navigation experiments, Intuitive Machines sold space on the lander to Columbia Sportswear to fly its newest insulating jacket fabric; sculptor Jeff Koons for 125 mini moon figurines; and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for a set of cameras to capture pictures of the descending lander.