Over three years ago, when Bill Baldwin and Boulevard Realty bid farewell to their iconic office at 1545 Heights Blvd., where Baldwin came to own what is now one of the Top 25 residential real estate firms in the city and which had served as both a community landmark and gathering space, he knew it was only to find a better site for his signature brand of real estate brokering. This summer, the brokerage’s first in their new digs at 927 Studewood St., saw his dream come to fruition with a swarming, diverse calendar of community and collaborative events both in the second-floor open office and the more fluid first-floor coworking concept known as YourSpace by Boulevard Realty.
It seems Baldwin was on to something when he sought to break significantly from the growing trend of downsizing in the real estate office setting, even in the face of stiff competition.
“In over 20 years living and working inside the loop, I have come to learn that Houston, and especially the Heights, truly values a culture of coming together,” reflects Baldwin. “While we know how to throw a great White Linen Night and ever-growing Pride celebration, our spirit of celebrating one another and the desire to commune is really just a part of our identity as Houstonians.”
Kicking off his recently announced campaign for Houston City Council at the new office in mid-August, Baldwin expressed the sense of pride he has in seeing that people still want a sense of place and shared civic commons—themes he emphasizes in some of the Planning & Development planks of his campaign.
As one might expect from what has become the premier Heights real estate firm, the beloved neighborhood tradition of White Linen Night was in fact Baldwin and the Boulevard’s biggest gathering yet at 927 Studewood. The event was called out in the Houston Chronicle’s VIP View Society section as one of the best parties of the night, but it was far from the only unforgettable night at Boulevard’s bustling spot. That same night, YourSpace was transformed into a pop-up gallery for The Community Artists’ Collective, a Midtown-based arts incubator for over 30 years. Baldwin, who is co-chairing the FestEve! Evening for the Arts fundraiser for the organization next month on the Rice University campus (more info at thecollective.org), says this sort of synergy and fusion of Houston’s diverse neighborhood is exactly what he had in mind.
“It is easy to find ourselves in a bubble when we live in great neighborhoods like the Heights, River Oaks, or Midtown, but we are all Houstonians and should seek every opportunity to rediscover other communities here,” he said.
While Heights organizations and events figure prominently on Boulevard’s roster of happenings — the Houston Heights Woman’s Club just completed a summer-long school uniform drive in YourSpace, and now the Heights Garden Club gears up for a fall workshop upstairs — the building has drawn other extended neighbors to our neighborhood as well. From grassroots groups like the Northside’s Stop I-45 movement to CenterPoint to The Periwinkle Foundation (a philanthropic offshoot of the pediatric oncology department at Texas Children’s Hospital), any given night at 927 Studewood has Houstonians gathering to brainstorm, bond, and be together.
“Of course, this is all at no cost to the organization,” adds Baldwin. “This is their space too.”
It’s not just organized events that have imbued the space with life this summer. The downstairs YourSpace, open seven days a week (anytime the office is open) and also available by reservation after-hours, has become something of an incubator in its own right for newly forming businesses, students, creatives, and young professionals seeking inspiration.
“Any given day we have local business owners meeting for brainstorming sessions, individuals studying for exams, or neighbors that work from home and need a change of scenery,” points out Marianne Terrell, a realtor and Office Manager of Boulevard. “And in the evenings, we’ve had everything from prayer groups to political candidates to concerts, even a physician who needed a private room to make patient calls.”
None of this is even counting the bustling activity of Baldwin’s 65-plus agents and staff of 18, who flow throughout the space taking meetings and working in configurations that vary from the traditional conference table to more of a living room set-up.
“When I first decided that we needed the space, it was really to give my agents some breathing room,” admits Baldwin. “Our culture has always been about co-working and collaboration. In this new space, I see both that we are continuing to fulfill a need and that the way my agents like to work is a true reflection of Houston’s greater culture.”
The fun and fellowship will continue well into the fall. Everytown for Gun Safety will stage a book-signing on Sept. 11 and Print Matters Houston will hold their General Membership Meeting on Sept. 29. Anyone interested in holding their own event at 927 Studewood is invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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