Dreading commuting to work again? Wilton initiative might help.

Photo of J.D. Freda
The head of the Wilton Economic Development Commission has spearheaded an effort to gauge interest in flexible workspaces in town.

The head of the Wilton Economic Development Commission has spearheaded an effort to gauge interest in flexible workspaces in town.

Bryan Haeffele / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — Marty Avallone has been crunching the numbers and discovered the town has more than 2,000 residents who commute to Stamford or New York. There are also 1,000 residents who are self-employed and 2,600 businesses with less than five employees, he said.

“Add to that, we have a whole slew of new residents,” he said.

The data, combined with changing work cultures amid the pandemic, point to a growing need for shared workspaces in Wilton, Avallone says.

Avallone, who heads the Wilton Economic Development Commission, has spearheaded an effort to gauge interest in the idea.

During a webinar last week, two local commercial landlords who are members of the EDC board provided insight on how this could work in Wilton.

Mike Robinson, of the Regus, which offers coworking space in Wilton Center, said his facility has “58 individual offices, in all different shapes and sizes.”

He said the offices available measure around 100 square feet. Also, outside of the offices are common areas, including onsite meeting spaces and lounges, as well as a kitchen and restrooms.

“It is more like comparing (the individual offices) to your home office, where the kitchen and bathrooms are down the hall, rather than in the room,” Robinson said of the Regus facility.

Robinson and Lee Wilson, of Wilson Properties on Danbury Road, said tenants have ranged from professionals in finance, legal, real estate and marketing. The landlords said they have had track records working with small business owners as well.

Deborah McFadden, a member of the Wilton Board of Selectmen, asked about the types of services the facilities would provide beyond just space.

“We make it easy because everything is included. Furniture, internet, the facilities, it’s all included,” Robinson said. He added that, if an important piece of mail or package is delivered to the premises, the reception desk will sign for the item and hold it until the person returns.

The Regus prices start at $370 per person per month for office rentals, $348 per person per month for coworking, $61 per month for virtual offices and $60 per hour for meeting room rentals.

Avallone and fellow EDC member John DiCenzo believe that bringing more Wilton residents into flexible workspaces downtown will stimulate local business.

“We believe that if we get more people using the center in (Wilton Center), it will have a spillover to the local economy,” Avallone said. Robinson said Regus, which is near local eateries and a Starbucks, has seen a large percentage of its clientele order from local eateries during the workday.

While the goal is to generate local business growth, the draw is convenience.

“Wouldn't it be nice to be five minutes from your home?” Wilson asked.