Switchyards is expanding to Buckhead, offering an alternative place to work that’s not an office, home or coffee shop.
The concept, which is dubbed a “neighborhood work club,” is planning its most northern venue yet as its founder scouts his move into the suburbs. Switchyards currently has three intown locations: downtown, Cabbagetown and Westside Atlanta.
“Buckhead was pretty natural for us,” said Michael Tavani, founder and CEO of Switchyards. That’s because the waitlist was growing for new members in the area, he said. “We saw a bubble forming in the Buckhead area. We think this product, while it’s mostly an intown product now, has broad appeal across the city.”
Tavani, a Brookhaven resident, said Switchyards is not a co-working venue, but a “third place” that fills a gap between the office and home. More people are demanding flexibility in their workplaces, a trend that’s been accelerated by the pandemic.
“We very much think of Switchyards as an alternative place to work — that’s not the home, but it’s not the office either,” he said. “It’s not a primary workplace … It’s meant to be a third place where you spent a couple hours a week doing heads-down work and having meetings.”
What’s emerging is a new type of work, he said, where people split up their 40-hour work week between different places.
“Offices will not come back 100%,” Tavani said. “Flexibility has been introduced into the workplace, in a big way as a result of COVID, and I don’t think we are ever going back … So this is a massive disruption of how, when and where people work. Switchyards is a new product, and it’s so new that it’s hard to define. We think we are creating the category.”
A monthly membership to Switchyards costs $50, with access to all locations and free coffee and tea.
Tavani, who has a long history in Atlanta’s tech scene and was a co-founder of Scoutmob, had first opened Switchyards in downtown in 2016 as a consumer and design-focused startup hub. But the concept has evolved since then.
For now, Tavani isn’t revealing the exact location of Switchyards in Buckhead. Those details should come later this year, with the location opening in early 2022. It will be about 6,000 square feet, he said.
“We are excited about bringing this vibe we have created to different parts of the city,” he said. “The places have a strong soul.”