A Stand-Up Business: VariSpace expands

Southlake Mayor Laura Hill and Vari CEO Jason McCann following April 22 Southlake Chamber luncheon at VariSpace. Credit: Courtesy

In 2012, Jason McCann and his business partner sat in their Coppell office. His partner, who was suffering from sciatica, discovered that his pain diminished as he stood while working. However, options for adjustable standing desks they found were too expensive or too difficult to assemble. There had to be a better way.

Shortly thereafter, they created the first VariDesk – a sit-stand desktop converter that transformed ANY desk into a standing desk. The desk literally elevated productivity while lowering back pain since the desk worked at variable heights. The company grew quickly from the two employees to more than 350. By 2017, Jason McCann was celebrated as the EY (Ernst & Young) Entrepreneur of the Year in the emerging business category.

In February 2020, VariDesk announced a multi-million dollar rebrand to change its name to Vari. Pronounced “very,” the Vari name implied multiple product solutions but without the limitation of “desk” in the name. The same company that had rebranded FedEx from Federal Express established and executed the brand strategies.

Vari is a workspace innovation company that helps growing organizations unlock the potential of their office space. Its products can be found in 120 countries, with shipments to more than 30 of those countries daily.

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The products can be found in 98% of Fortune 500 companies, with employees working both from the office and from home.

In 2019, Vari decided to create a space-as-a-service concept that would feature entire buildings showcasing exclusive Vari products, from desks and chairs to monitor support arms, storage, movable walls, and beyond.

It would be called … VariSpace.

At VariSpace, tenants could lease space with flexible terms and still modern, first-class amenities. All the office furniture would be flexible, since it would be outfitted by Vari, so each company’s workspace layout could change as needed.

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“We’re seeing real demand for flexible lease terms with fully-furnished spaces of our amazing line of office products, great hospitality amenities, all rolled into a simple, fully-managed solution,” said McCann.

Their first VariSpace concept developed in Las Colinas, converting a vacant former Zales Jewelry complex into 305,000 square feet of rentable Class A office space. That building, which had been vacant for over five years, is now enjoying a 90% occupancy rate with tenants leasing space in multiples of 10,000 square feet.

Each VariSpace location features world-class amenities that include an on-site café, lobby coffee bar, fitness center, Wi-Fi enabled outdoor courtyards, shared conference rooms, training areas and the social + game area.

Vari decided that Southlake would be the next location.

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They took over a space that had not been occupied for several years in Southlake’s Solana complex, and opened VariSpace Southlake at the northwest corner of Highway 114 and Kirkwood Boulevard, with 335,000 rentable square feet of Class A office space within three buildings.

“Our mission is to create workspaces that elevate people and VariSpace is taking that mission to the next level,” said McCann. He adds, “The response to VariSpace Las Colinas is validating our approach to space-as-a-service. The response has been incredible – practically leased out while still under construction. Now we’re ready to expand our vision to Southlake.”

The pandemic delayed the opening, which was set for spring 2020.

As the pandemic took hold, it impacted VariSpace’s parent-company Vari as well.  Vari adapted:

  • Employees from clients who retreated home to work started to miss their VariDesk that gave them the option to stand or sit while working. As a result, demand for Vari’s “work from home” products like electric standing desks skyrocketed.
  • The company’s headquarters was redesigned with different space configurations to incorporate more space between employee workstations using offerings like privacy panels and movable walls.
  • Sales teams promoted additional products such as sturdy, high-density core standing mats, marker boards and power hubs.
  • Ideation teams developed additional products to serve the social distancing guidelines.

Now that the pandemic appears to be subsiding, VariSpace Southlake hosted a Southlake Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday, April 22, where McCann was the keynote speaker.

He shared the story of VariDesk and VariSpace. He introduced Vari’s newest creation, the VariDesk Portable Laptop Stand, and is sending one of the new stands to each of the 110 members who attended. Due to COVID precautions and social distance requirements, that was the maximum number of visitors allowed to visit the Southlake campus.

“Southlake is the perfect place for VariSpace,” said Southlake Mayor Laura Hill. “When we envisioned what kind of company would make this space come alive, this is what we had in mind: future-ready and forward-thinking. Congratulations to VariSpace on their success, and I’d like to be the first to welcome them to Southlake!”

Early tenants in Southlake have been Microsoft, Solo Stove, and more.

Next up: VariSpace Coppell, with all three locations within 20 miles of one another.

The Coppell location will be designed by BOKA Powell with Corgan designing the interior. Vari plans to occupy part of the building in Coppell as its global headquarters.

McCann said that retrofitting a space can be challenging. He foresees a time when VariSpace will construct a building from the ground up and pre-wire all amenities in advance.

He adds, “That will be the ultimate example of efficient construction. It’s costly to build a structure, yet it’s also less labor intensive and more efficient to start from day one.”

1900 W. Kirkwood Blvd.
Southlake 76092

 –FWBP Staff