Open Office offers coworking space at Coventry School

Andrew Auten

Open Office, a shared office and meeting room space for freelancers, mobile workers and other small business owners, is the latest tenant to open in the former Coventry School building.

For a monthly full-time or part-time membership fee, Open Office offers individual office space, meeting rooms, and collaboration areas. Members have access to hi-speed WiFi, printers, scanners, copiers, fax machine, storage lockers and a coffee bar that features fresh coffee and pastries daily, from Phoenix Coffee and Luna Bakery & Café. There are also day passes and conference room rentals available.

Owner Andrew Auten, who for now is keeping his day job at KeyBank, said, “People who work from their homes often miss the interaction and structure that an office provides. Open Office helps people build a professional community where they can feel connected, motivated and in the know, while maintaining their independence.”

Auten, who lives in Shaker Heights and works from home one day a week, said he looked at several spaces in the Cleveland area, but wanted something close to home. “I love being close to Coventry Village with all of its amenities. It’s in walking distance of several lunch spots and has great access to transportation.”

“Mobile workers need a place that is free of distractions,” said Auten. “They need a place that reflects their professionalism, where they would be proud to bring clients.”

Auten employed local artist Steven Tatar to design such a space. Tatar used a mixture of reclaimed items, modern furniture and custom-built fixtures to transform the dated 1970s interior. “I wanted to create an environment that was sophisticated and professional, hip but not juvenile,” said Tatar. “For example, we don’t have foosball tables here.”

Tatar repurposed recovered cubicle covers from one of his former employers, American Greetings. He kept chalkboards and displayed maps of Asia and Africa, found in the building, to add character and remind members of the space’s elementary school origins.

Tatar salvaged pattern-cutting tables from the Ohio Knitting Mills to create task tables, and purchased new ergonomically-designed Very Task chairs from Haworth. Users can adjust every aspect of the chair, including the height of the arm rest, the tension of the back and the seat depth. “It was important that we had seating that could fit every member’s needs,” said Tatar.

“The CH-UH school district has been a real partner,” said Auten. “They’ve cleared out impediments to zoning, juggled the needs of multiple tenants and have a great relationship with the trades. They’ve had to work their way up the learning curve to being a landlord.”

Auten plans to partner with several local businesses to augment the membership experience. He is planning book signings, wine tastings, lectures and workshops that will be free to members. The public will get a chance to see all that Open Office has to offer at a community open house, scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Open Office is located at 2843 Washington Blvd. For more information, call 216-320-6890 or visit

Deanna Bremer Fisher

Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 2:30 PM, 04.24.2012