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Flexible Office Provider NYC Office Suites Inks Two Deals in Midtown

NYC Office Suites, which provides flexible office space, has signed a lease for 40,000 square feet in Rockefeller Center and a sublease for 30,000 square feet in the Citigroup Center, Commercial Observer has learned.

The larger of the two deals is in Tishman Speyer’s 1270 Avenue of the Americas between West 50th and West 51st Streets, with the company taking the entire seventh and eighth floors.

Avital Shimshowitz, the senior vice president of sales and marketing for NYC Office Suites, told CO that the company liked the building for a number of reasons: its location, it neighbors the entrance to Radio City Music Hall, Tishman’s Zo amenity package, the fact that the Rainbow Room is tenants-only for breakfast and lunch, it’s on top of a transportation hub and is along what she called “corporation row.”

On the eighth floor, NYC Office Suites will be converting a corner conference room into a business lounge and it will have a door to an outdoor furnished terrace for clients.

The lease is for 15 years and the asking rent was in the low $70s per square foot, Shimshowitz said.

Sean Black, the founder of BLACKre, represented NYC Office Suites in the deal. He wasn’t immediately reachable. It wasn’t clear who represented Tishman as a spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment. 

601 lexington avenue photo costar group Flexible Office Provider NYC Office Suites Inks Two Deals in Midtown
601 Lexington Avenue. Photo: CoStar Group

NYC Office Suites clients will start moving into 1270 Avenue of the Americas on April 2, Shimshowitz said. Other tenants at the 31-story 528,900-square-foot office tower include Premiere Networks, Venable and FTSE Americas.

Crain’s New York Business was the first to report on this deal.

In the smaller deal, NYC Office Suites—which caters to mid-career professionals and “falls between Regus and WeWork,” Shimshowitz said—has taken 30,000 square feet in the Citigroup Center at 601 Lexington Avenue at East 53rd Street via a sublease with Citibank. The space is on the 20th floor.

“Our clients base—the core of it is financial services, legal and executive search firms,” Shimshowitz said, so the Citigroup Center was a logical choice for an outpost. In addition the Citigroup Center is in a good location for commuting and offers great views, she added.

Shimshowitz declined to cite the asking rent in the sublease, but CoStar Group indicates building asking rents range from $50 to $100 per square foot. The sublease is for less than 10 years.

Louis Buffalino of Cushman & Wakefield represented NYC Office Suites in the Citigroup Center deal. A spokesman for C&W didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. It wasn’t clear who represented Citibank in the deal. Boston Properties owns the 59-story, 1.4-million-square-foot building where tenants include Kirkland & Ellis, the Blackstone Group and Citadel Investment Group.

While that NYC Office Suites space isn’t ready in Citigroup Center, “people wanted to move in,” Shimshowitz said, so the first client will set up shop next Thursday.

Thirty-year-old NYC Office Suites has four operating New York City locations—one each at Greybar Building at 420 Lexington Avenue, the Commerce Building at 708 Third Avenue, 733 Third Avenue and 1350 Avenue of Americas, with the last one being the company’s largest outfit at 75,000 square feet.

Source: commercial

In Cannes for MIPIM, Brookfield’s Ric Clark Is All NYC

Brookfield Property Partners is no doubt one of the most active developers in New York City.

The firm recently completed the redevelopment of its 8.5-million-square-foot Brookfield Place office and retail complex in Lower Manhattan, a $250 million project it commenced in 2015. Today the property is nearly entirely leased. And the developer is building at an aggressive pace the more than 7-million-square-foot Manhattan West project.

The company is also is a partner on Park Tower Group’s 22-acre Greenpoint Landing mixed-use development in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. And on top of that, the developer recently picked up the leasehold of the HBO Building at 1100 Avenue of the Americas along with Swig Company and signed most of the space to Bank of America (386,000 square feet). In addition, Brookfield and Swig recently signed Bank of America to a 127,000-square-foot space at their adjacent property, the Grace Building at 1114 Avenue of the Americas.

Commercial Observer caught up with Ric Clark, the senior managing partner and the chairman of Brookfield, while in Cannes for his very first MIPIM (or Marché International des Professionnels d’Immobilier). His main order of business at the conference: talking about trends in the United States on a U.S. panel co-organized by CO.

But we got to talk to him about the status of the firm’s projects, Brookfield’s investment in on-demand conference space provider Convene and the company’s recent—so far unsuccessful—attempts to acquire General Growth Properties, Forest City Realty Trust and Regus parent company IWG.

Commercial Observer: You have a lot of things going on in New York City. What is the status of Greenpoint Landing, Brookfield’s foray into the outer boroughs?

So the first building opens up in August. I think it’s just shy of 400 units. The second tower will open in 2020 and we hope that we have two more towers coming up on the heels of those.

Park Tower Group brought Brookfield in to do that project. What attracted you to it?

It really started with a desire to expand our presence in the multifamily business. Up until roughly six years ago we really didn’t have any investments in the apartment sector. But looking back it’s been one of the best performing sectors, particularly in New York City—vacancy is very low—tenants tend to stay for a couple of years, and when they do leave the capital expenses are pretty modest unlike an office tenant. Granted stay longer, but when they leave it is a major capital reinvestment to retenant the space. So the first building that we built was The Eugene [with 844 units] at Manhattan West. We are closing in on 80 percent leased now, and it hasn’t even been open [for a year]. So basically on the heels of that and making a decision to enter the multifamily space, we looked around and thought, Brooklyn was a great alternative to Manhattan. It’s cheaper, so more affordable, and there is a lot happening in Brooklyn.

What’s going on at Manhattan West?

So 5 Manhattan West, formerly  known as 450 West 33rd Street, started as an apparel warehouse—at one point it had the Sky Rink—we were able to convert that and put a new facade, new lobby, new systems and take what was once the ugliest building in Manhattan and make it into a pretty attractive building, which is appealing to those in the innovation and technology businesses. So that [1.7-million-square-foot] building is effectively fully leased at this point.  

One Manhattan West is going up. We did 1.8 million square feet of leasing [at Manhattan West] last year so overall between 5 Manhattan West, 1 Manhattan West and The Lofts building, which is a 200,000-square-foot building that we are repurposing there as well, we are 92.3 percent leased across the project. So we had a really big year there last year.

What else did you do there?

We are about to break ground on a [30-story, 164-room] hotel. We haven’t yet announced the operator. But we hope too soon. So the remaining piece is to lease out the retail. We have signed a couple of retail deals already—like Whole Foods

So the only thing left is 2 Manhattan West—the south tower—where we are actively pursuing tenants. We have started the below-grade work [on that building].

With everything happening in Hudson Yards District, is Midtown East dead?

Between us and Hudson Yards there has been a lot of momentum over there in the last couple of years. [But] the east is not finished yet. There is a bit of a nuclear arms race going on when it comes to upgrading buildings that are somewhat obsolete [in Midtown East]. I think it’ll make those buildings more appealing. Those that don’t spend the capital to reposition their buildings and enhance them, I think are going to struggle a lit bit. But the east is not dead. We just saw the J.P. Morgan announcement [to build new Park Avenue headquarters], which was pretty huge for Park Avenue.  

It’s not exactly Midtown East, but your company now has two buildings off Bryant Park with the Grace Building and the recently acquired neighboring 1100 Avenue of the Americas. Why did you want the adjacent property?

Adjacent and back connected to the Grace Building is the HBO Building, 1100 Avenue of the Americas. There is literally a floor where you could walk from one building to the other.

Interestingly, someone along the chain of ownership built what I’m going to call a “spite wall” on the back of the HBO Building. So when we acquired the Grace Building there was this solid wall that went literally up the north side of the HBO Building.

We were the only one’s pursuing the acquisition of 1100 Avenue of the Americas that could remove that wall [since we also owned the Grace Building], and basically connect the Grace Building plaza to Bryant Park with a renovation of the lobby. The other advantage that we had on that building [1100 Avenue of the Americas] than others is that the building does not have a loading dock. So you literally had to pull a truck up in the middle of the night and offload it to bring goods into the building. We can connect the building to the Grace Building’s loading dock underground.

We saw this as an opportunity to help Bank of America [which is the anchor of 1 Bryant Park] create an urban campus. So they leased the bulk of 1100 [Avenue of the Americas], and also have taken some space in the Grace Building as well.

How is Brookfield Place doing?

So we’ve leased up all of the retail space and the project is 8.5 million square feet and 95 percent leased [in both office and retail]. And I just looked at the [2017] year-end sales numbers before I came here and it had very strong same-store sales.

It really has exceeded our expectations. You can go there on a Friday night, it’ll be crowded. You could go there on a Saturday morning, it’ll be crowded. And it’s a difference; the crowd takes on a different complexion on any day of the week. Sunday morning you’ll see a bunch of dads and strollers. And we are really proud of it.

We’ve heard millennials are to blame for the death of malls. How is Brookfield preparing for the influx of millennials that will reshape the economy?

In a year or two, millennials will make up 50 percent of the world’s working population. And by 2030, it’ll make up 70 percent. So for sure, I think those in the real estate business that are paying attention to that are making adjustments to their real estate to help employees attract, maintain and motivate employees will be more successful.

This crowd was basically born with a smartphone in their hands. And they want everything immediately and they want it efficiently, so we’ve been bringing a lot of innovation and technology to our “places.”

What specifically?

For example, at Brookfield Place we are beta testing an app that will package a bunch of other apps that will provide convenience to those that work within our project. You will soon be able to get in and out of the building by using your smartphone instead of a plastic badge. You will receive security alerts on a moment’s notice if there is some kind of terrorism event or some kind of emergency.

We noticed that when we opened Hudson Eats [in Brookfield Place], between the lunch hours the lines were so long that people were actually turning away. So we found an app called Ritual, with which you can sit at your desk, decide where you want to order your food from, you order your food, the food is prepared, they give you a notice when it is ready. They’ll also let you know if someone else on your floor or in your building is going down to pick up food from there and [inform you if] they’ll bring the food back to you.

Within a couple of months 25 percent of the people that work within Brookfield Place downloaded this app, and sales for the stores that use it went up 25 percent as well. So we are trying to wrap all of those with a Brookfield app just to make the overall experience just as seamless and efficient as we can.

And this is only for Brookfield Place?

We’ve been beta testing this whole thing at Brookfield Place so once we get the bugs out and its working efficiently, we’ll roll it out across the world.

How did you get to know Convene and why is Brookfield so heavily investing in it?

I got a phone call once from a CEO of [Hudson’s Bay Company]—one of our tenants—after we signed a lease with him, saying, “I’m sitting here with my architect and I’m planning my space and I’m planning a boardroom, which I am literally going to use once a quarter. And if you had something where I could rent a catered conference room once a quarter, I could use my space that I rented from you for more productive things.”

And he introduced us to Convene. And we understood the merits of it immediately.

On the one hand, I’m sure our leasing group would rather rent more space to somebody even if it is sitting idle, but I think those that listen to their tenants and solve their tenants’ problems as they relate to efficiency will be more successful.

How much has Brookfield invested in Convene?

We are the largest shareholder now. We sign leases with them in some of our buildings and we do management agreements with them as well. So we think wherever we can work a Convene into our projects it’s a great amenity—one that tenants will respond positively to.

Work space as a service has become huge business with players like WeWork, IWG (Regus) and Convene. Are you afraid that they will take business from traditional landlords?

So for our office business primarily we are in the big-bulk leasing business. So we don’t have a lot of small tenants in our facilities… And for sure the smaller tenants I think—particularly those in a start-up business—need flexibility and I think WeWork or IWG provides that flexibility for those tenants that don’t want to sign a 10-year lease because their business may be very different in a couple of years. I think there is room for both of these. And we are working with a coworking or flexible angle within many of our projects around the world.

Although they have been unsuccessful so far, why has Brookfield made moves to acquire GGP, Forest City Realty and IWG?

So I can’t comment on specific transactions. But I would say [Brookfield Property Partners parent company] Brookfield Asset Management’s real estate business has about $150 billion of assets under management and we got to that scale through [mergers and acquisitions] activity. So we are always looking for mispriced or undervalued opportunities—opportunities where we think either through a better capital structure or because of our operating capabilities or some idea that we have or some synergies with some or our other businesses, we can acquire a business and create value. And I’d say, in all of those transactions that is what we are really focused on. As for the specific ones that you mentioned, we will see.

Source: commercial

WeWork Ups Pay for Brokers at Trio of Firms Who Find and Fill Coworking Space

WeWork has signed agreements with CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield and JLL in North America, offering brokers at the firms greater compensation if they find and fill coworking space, Commercial Observer has learned.

“WeWork is unique in that as we become more sales driven with our real estate approach we can partner with real estate firms on both sides—on the site selection and lease sourcing side and the client member introduction side,” Julia Davis, the head of transactions and analytics for WeWork, told CO. “We are hoping to leverage those relationships.”

Brokers at CBRE, C&W and JLL will get a 20 percent fee on a one-year lease and 5 percent on expansions and renewals. That compares to the sums WeWork has been offering individual brokers across the board for the last year: 10 percent on year one of a lease and 2 percent for expansions and renewals, Davis said.

“WeWork will partner with these firms on a non-exclusive basis to source a set (i.e. agreed upon) square footage for WeWork locations in North America, and in return, the [commercial real estate] firms will introduce new clients to WeWork, leading to more closed sales and strengthened relationships,” according to bullet points WeWork provided to CO. Davis declined to provide the square footage.

The idea is that the CBRE, C&W and JLL brokers will be “ambassadors” for the brand, Davis said. WeWork will “reward those CRE firms that introduce new members to WeWork with additional real estate sourcing assignments,” the company promises.

It seems that WeWork’s efforts to ingratiate itself in the broker community are working.

“One-and-a-half years ago, there was little [broker] contribution,” Davis said. “Now it’s 20 to 25 percent of desks on a monthly basis due to brokerages across all markets company-wide.”

The partnership initiative is starting in North America and if successful, WeWork will scale it globally and establish other such relationships.

A broker at one of the partner firms said of the agreements: “It is a minor development. Not even sure what it means other then we will get a few assignments as will the others to find them space and offer WeWork [spaces] to our clients as an option.”

Another broker, at a different partner company, said that while he would put a tenant in a WeWork space if it was appropriate, the increased payout would not compel him to do so.

The office-space provider business has been getting increasingly crowded, and one broker suggested WeWork has upped the ante to one-up the competition.

But WeWork is not the only office space provider forging relationships with brokerages. Knotel has partnered with Newmark Knight Frank and secured an undisclosed investment from NKF’s Barry Gosin. (Gosin is also an adviser to Knotel.)

NKF “is a very valuable partner of ours. In addition to the partnership, they made a financial investment,” Eugene Lee, Knotel’s global head of real estate and business development, told CO. “It’s an integration between Newmark and Knotel where they’re helping us find spaces and bringing spaces they represent into Knotel.”

According to a January press release from Knotel: “The partnership will allow NKF’s audience of owners and other clients to have streamlined access to Knotel’s footprint across New York City, San Francisco and London.”

Lee said that unlike WeWork, Knotel is not increasing the pay for NKF brokers.

“We are paying them standard rates as they would get compensated in a standard lease format,” he explained.

So why would a NKF broker be inclined to put a tenant in a Knotel space?

Knotel will “give preference to the company we have a relationship with,” Lee said, when faced with multiple companies competing for floors.

As for what WeWork is doing, Lee said, “When you’re having to give promotional commissions and pay brokers to bring you members, that’s generally a sign of weakness. In general if you’re discounting and giving out promotional incentives, it’s not a good sign for the business.”

Spokespeople for CBRE and C&W declined to comment. A spokesman for JLL didn’t respond to a request for comment and a NKF spokeswoman didn’t respond with a comment.

Source: commercial

WeWork Inks 177K-SF Deal for New Chelsea Location Near Its HQ

WeWork, the Chelsea-based coworking giant, has signed a roughly 177,000-square-foot lease for a new location at 18 West 18th Street a block from its current headquarters, Commercial Observer has learned.

The company will occupy the entire office portion of the 11-story building between Avenue of the Americas and Fifth Avenue. WeWork will open the location in stages, with the first encompassing the fifth through 11th floors, or approximately 117,000 square feet, this summer, according to information provided by the landlord’s broker, Cushman & Wakefield.

Then it will occupy about 50,000 square feet in the second through fourth floors. Those floors are currently occupied by the Association for Autistic Children, and WeWork will assume the space in a few years, according to C&W’s David E. Green.

“The property is a classic Chelsea loft building with great light and air,” Green, an executive director at C&W, told CO.

Green and colleagues Tara Stacom and Connor Daugstrap handled the deal for 17-18 Management Company LLC, owned by a partnership led by the Schaffer family.

CBRE’s Derrick Ades, Timothy Dempsey and Brett Shannon represented WeWork in the transaction. They declined to comment via a spokeswoman.

Green declined to provide the terms of the deal, and a spokesman for WeWork did not immediately return a request for comment.

WeWork’s current headquarters is located at 115 West 18th Street between Avenue of the Americas and Seventh Avenue. But, the company plans to move its corporate offices to the Lord & Taylor building at 424 Fifth Avenue between West 38th and West 39th Streets. In a joint venture with Rhône Capital, WeWork announced last October a deal to purchase the 676,000-square-foot building from the store’s parent company Hudson’s Bay Company for $850 million, as CO previously reported.

Source: commercial

Industrious Raises $80M in Funding Co-Led by Fifth Wall, Riverwood

Rapidly growing Brooklyn-based flexible workspace provider Industrious, which has attracted members from Hyatt, Instacart, Chipotle, Fullscreen, Mashable and Pivotal, is about to get even bigger.

After tripling the number of its locations in the U.S. to 35 over the past three years, Industrious has completed its latest fundraising round and pulled in $80 million in Series C funding co-led by Los Angeles-based Fifth Wall Ventures and Riverwood Capital, according to an Industrious news release today.

The company has now raised a total of $142 million since its founding in 2013, according to a spokeswoman. It plans to further its expansion by adding about 30 more locations this year. Also Industrious is projecting its revenue growth will triple this year, according to Jamie Hodari, a co-founder and the CEO of Industrious. He also said that in 2018, the company plans to launch an app that will help connect tenants to events. He declined to go into further detail about the product.

“Our network is growing very quickly and that is a capital intensive proposition,” Hodari told Commercial Observer. “We have to be able to serve our customers where they are, wherever that is across the country.”

img 0036 Industrious Raises $80M in Funding Co Led by Fifth Wall, Riverwood
Industrious plans to open many new locations around the country this year. Photo: Industrious

Other investors in the funding round include Alrai Capital, Outlook Ventures, Rabina Properties, Schechter Private Capital and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, the release indicates.  

Fifth Wall, a venture capital firm that invests in burgeoning real estate companies, is backed by major property owners such as Hines, mall-operator Macerich, Prologis and Rudin Management Company. (Industrious is not the first coworking provider that Fifth Wall has invested in, but it is the first that has been publicly announced.) It has already invested in VTS, Appear Here, WiredScore and Enertiv, as CO reported first in January.

The company chose to invest in Industrious because of its ability to attract Fortune 500 companies to its model.

Industrious does not create flashy spaces designed with startups in mind, but implements sophisticated designs with actual offices—and a handful of coworking desks—at its locations.

“It’s an elegant, simple, refined aesthetic that attracts large companies,” said Brendan Wallace, Fifth Wall’s co-founder and managing partner.

Wallace added that Fifth Wall also selected Industrious because he believes the office space provider partners more with landlords than do its competitors, based on the structure of the lease agreements it signs.

The Fifth Wall co-founder declined to elaborate, but said Industrious is different than say a WeWork, which signs a lease and then fills its spaces with members whose collective fees work out to much more than the price of the original lease. In WeWork’s case, the coworking giant receives more upside than the landlord does for the space. (A spokesman for WeWork declined to comment.)

“I think that landlords have grown increasingly cautious to coworking players, including WeWork,” Wallace said. “What [Fifth Wall’s investors] were looking for was a coworking partner to deploy across their national footprint.”

Source: commercial

Manhattan Is Tops for Coworking Space, LA Ranks Second: Report

Coworking represents a small yet growing segment of the office market, a new study demonstrates, with Manhattan dominating.

Manhattan has 245 coworking spaces equaling 7.7 million square feet, according to a new study by Yardi Matrix,  a commercial real estate research and data platform. Los Angeles came in second with 3.7 million square feet in 158 locations. Nine other metros studied have at least 1 million square feet of coworking office product, with Miami being home to the most coworking space as a percentage of total stock, at 2.7 percent of the metro’s 50.5 million square feet of space. Manhattan took second at 1.7 percent of total product dedicated to shared space. (Los Angeles ranked third along with West Palm Beach, with 1.6 percent of space dedicated to coworking.)

Yardi quantified coworking locations in 20 of the U.S.’ largest markets encompassing buildings of 50,000 square feet in major cities and large regions. The research found companies offering memberships at 1,166 coworking sites with 26.9 million square feet of space, which represented 1.2 percent of office space in the 20 markets studied. Furthermore, 11 of the 20 locations studied have more than 1 million square feet of coworking space for lease. There is no comparative data available, as Yardi said this is the first study to “quantify the amount of square footage of coworking space in relation to total office space within markets.”

Perhaps, unsurprisingly, coworking has proliferated more in cities—which have a critical mass of workers—with leases encompassing 1.4 percent of urban office versus 0.9 percent of suburban office space, according to Yardi.

Although there are numerous companies offering coworking space for lease, the field is dominated by Regus (9.4 million square feet)—which pioneered the “workspace as a service” concept in the 1990s, first in Europe and later in the Americas—and WeWork (6.5 million square feet). The two industry giants account for nearly 60 percent of all coworking space in the 20 markets studied.

“Demand is high in markets with concentrations of knowledge workers—especially IT but also new media or industries such as biotechnology and telecommunications—that are friendly to startups [and] in metros where space is at a premium,” the report says, and lower in cities such as Dallas and Houston that have modest barriers to construction and high vacancy rates. Markets with lower vacancy rates, where office space is at a premium, have a higher concentration of coworking space. Fewer blocks of space exist in large coastal markets studied, such as Manhattan, San Francisco and Los Angeles, which, subsequently, have led to a larger percentage of coworking space.

That’s certainly been the case in Los Angeles, where an increasing number of new media providers including Amazon and Netflix have set up shop around town.

According to stats from Cushman & Wakefield’s fourth-quarter 2017 Greater Los Angeles Office market report, coworking companies WeWork and Spaces currently span multiple submarkets and have signed leases totaling more than 220,000 square feet in Hollywood, the Financial District and Culver City.

Source: commercial

REBNY 2018: Thrills and Frills

changing of the guard is a good moment for reflection. Last June, it was announced that Rob Speyer would be stepping down as chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York and be replaced by Bill Rudin.

Speyer got the job in 2013, five years and a bizarro world ago; and that crack isn’t strictly about the national political scene.

New York City is a different place than it was under the beginning of the Speyer regime. Michael Bloomberg was mayor. Steven Spinola was the long-serving president of REBNY. Sheldon Silver was the Speaker of the New York State Assembly. Nobody had heard of WeWork.

Different, right?

We spoke with Rudin and asked what his plans were for the organization.

Liam La Guerre looks at the various milestones in the Speyer presidency, from tapping John Banks to become Spinola’s replacement, to helping steer the city into the next incarnation of its 421a program, Affordable New York.

Speaking of Affordable New York, it has been one of the things that the 122-year-old trade organization has lobbied most fiercely for, and now that a year has passed since the new legislation has been signed into law, Aaron Short explores how the program has been panning out.

Of course, REBNY is not an organization that is strictly defined by the laws it advocates. It is also a presence in the courtroom. Lauren Elkies Schram examines the six legal cases that the trade organization has lent its legal expertise to over the last year.

One of REBNY’s big victories of last year was the fact that the City Council tore up the commercial rent tax for businesses whose rents are less than $500,000 per year, which Matt Grossman reports on.

An organization like REBNY will no doubt  be facing unforeseen questions and problems including a booming population and a razor thin vacancy rate; so if they’ll pardon a little persnickety advice on our part, Rebecca Baird-Remba examines at the issues that will be on the horizon.

Baird-Remba also got a look at the board’s annual report, the highlights of which we reported here.

Of course, not everybody is in love with the board. Rey Mashayekhi looked at its most persistent critic, labor advocate Ray Rogers.

REBNY, and the industry it champions is all about data. Mashayekhi found out where, physically, the old archived data is being housed (LaGuardia Community College, as it turns out).

Finally, our yearly REBNY issue also delves into who is being honored this year and why. The honorees at this year’s banquet include Rudin Management’s Gene Boniberger; Richard LeFrak; Cushman & Wakefield’s Ron Lo Russo; C&W’s Joanne Podell; U.S. Senator Charles Schumer; outgoing president Speyer; and Stribling & Associates’ Elizabeth Stribling.

—Max Gross

Source: commercial

The Plan: Emerge212 Brings High-End Hospitality to 1185 Avenue of the Americas

While the stratospheric rise of WeWork has raised the profile of coworking to an unprecedented level in recent years—with more firms than ever seeking to cater to the market for short-term, highly amenitized shared working spaces—“not all spaces are created equal,” according to James Kleeman, a director at boutique shared office provider Emerge212.

“There’s a wide landscape of coworking spaces out there,” Kleeman said during a recent visit to Emerge212’s newest location at 1185 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown. “The trajectory of officing is only going more nimble, more flexible, more [able] to suit each individual company and entrepreneur’s needs.”

Emerge212 was formed in 1999 as a wholly owned subsidiary of SL Green Realty Corp., which makes the firm “old-timers in this industry,” as Kleeman put it. But despite its relatively senior status, the office provider is going for an altogether different vibe than its competitors—one bringing “the best of hospitality and design into officing,” Kleeman said. “Our value proposition is the three S’s: style, service and sophistication.”

The two-level, 56,000-square-foot space at the SL Green-owned 1185 Avenue of Americas opened this past summer as Emerge212’s third New York City location, and like its other two (at 3 Columbus Circle and 125 Park Avenue, also SL Green properties) offers a sleekly designed, aesthetically minded office environment featuring high-end finishes and amenities. There are conference rooms named after famous artists (Warhol, Picasso, Pollack) that pay homage in their choice of carpeting and wallpaper (think splattered patterns on the walls of the Pollack room), while common area flourishes including a blue wooden staircase, a wall decked out in green, moss-like material and a glass table featuring gold-leaf decor that responds to static from the touch (designed by Kleeman himself) add a vibrant, modern feel to the place.

Café areas include diner-style seating and top-of-the-line coffee machines plus sparkling water and wine on tap—a WeWork-esque touch that lifts the coworking giant’s infamous tap beer amenity but “underscores the sophistication and the differentiation” of Emerge212’s product, Kleeman said. There is a “bistro” area housing a kitchen and movable furniture that can be reorganized to accommodate events; a building code-compliant fireplace; a glossy bicycle storage room; and a lounge area featuring soundproof “serenity” chairs equipped with speakers that can play audio of the user’s choice. Meanwhile, common area users can pipe in music through the rooms’ speaker systems with a tap of a smartphone.

And then there are the offices themselves, which line hotel-style corridors equipped with chic lighting fixtures but—with their three-foot-thick obfuscated glass panels and keyless entry—go for a more traditional and “private” office experience than many shared office spaces. Emerge212 clients, who Kleeman said mostly come from the financing, technology, legal and consulting industries, can take anywhere from a single cubicle up to several suites banded together to accommodate dozens of employees.

“We don’t have these big team rooms that are split desk by desk by desk,” Kleeman said, noting that the space’s more corporate aesthetic is going for a more “Midtown” feel than more creatively minded coworking environments.

While Kleeman had significant input in the design, Emerge212 enlisted the help of architecture and interior design firm LB Architects, which also designed the locations at 3 Columbus Circle and 125 Park Avenue. Rachel Talavera, a senior designer at LB Architects, said Kleeman’s vision was inspired by European boutique hotels and a desire to equip the space with furnishings and finishes “that were new to the marketplace.”

“They’re very particular in that someone walks into their space and doesn’t say, ‘Oh, that’s a Restoration Hardware table,’ ” Talavera said.

For Kleeman, it’s not only about designing the most beautiful space possible—one capable of “satiating the five senses”—but also building an environment that tenants will want to stay in “year over year over year.”

“When you build and design something that’s not as traditional, you’re taking a leap that the clientele you’re building it for is going to love it, want it, sign for it and pay for it,” he said. “We’ve gotten great feedback.”

Source: commercial

How a New Way of Working Is Ushering in Short-Term Rental Offerings

Over the past few years, the offsite has been gaining traction among lean startups and large enterprises alike. The thinking behind it is simple: Whether brainstorming

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a product launch strategy, planning out the quarter or year ahead or strengthening the bonds between teammates, getting out of the office and into a new physical context (hence offsite) can inspire new thinking and break down the barriers that keep workers from collaborating effectively.



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Successful offsites leave participants feeling optimistic, engaged and motivated to tackle new challenges—critical outcomes in a world where roughly one in four employees report feeling completely disengaged from their work. But a successful offsite doesn’t just happen: It takes careful planning, a clear idea of what you want to accomplish and a comfortable space that encourages communication.


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However, finding the right space to meet outside the office isn’t always easy. Shared office and coworking companies like Regus and WeWork and peer-to-peer marketplaces like LiquidSpace do offer private meeting rooms. But they’re accessed through bustling office environments and often completely visible to outside passersby. One of the major reasons to host an offsite is to escape the everyday distractions of the office, which can sap motivation and eat up half the typical office worker’s day; this makes a distraction-free environment a must-have for a successful offsite.
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Hotel meeting rooms are a common option, but they too come with caveats. There are often sizable minimum spends, mediocre-yet-mandatory catering, limited equipment for presentations and conference calls, and stuffy decor that does little to inspire creative thinking. It can be hard to think outside the box while you’re trapped inside of one, after all.


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As the world’s leading provider of private, temporary workspace, Breather understands what types of spaces empower teams to do their best work. Founded four years ago by Canadian entrepreneurs Julien Smith and Caterina Rizzi, Breather’s network of on-demand workspace has expanded to 10 cities worldwide, including New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Montreal, Toronto and more.
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With Breather, there are no long-term agreements or commitments; clients can instantly reserve any tech-enabled space for a few hours, a day or even many months. This flexibility allows Breather to serve a wide variety of workspace needs, from team and client meetings to small events, individual work, product sprints and spillover space.

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More crucially, Breather can ensure an experience that’s quiet, tidy and productive because there are no middlemen and no user-to-user marketplace; every space is leased, designed and operated in-house. And because the spaces are private suites accessed through a common corridor (like a typical office), there’s no need to pass through another company’s office or communal space to get to it. Just show up, type in your access code on the door’s keypad and get to work.

Source: commercial

Coworking Company Spaces Establishing NYC Flagship in 100K SF at Manhattan West

Brookfield Property Partners six-building Manhattan West megaproject is getting a major coworking tenant.

Amsterdam-based workspace provider Spaces has leased 103,000 square feet across seven floors in a building known as The Lofts at 424-434 West 33rd Street, the landlord told Commercial Observer. The coworking company will take the seventh through 13th floors in the top half of the former printing loft building between Ninth and 10th Avenues.

The asking rent in the 10-year deal was in the high $70s per square foot, according to David Cheikin, an executive vice president at Brookfield. Spaces will get its own private entrance and lobby, as well as a 2,000-square-foot rooftop and multiple terraces. The building has 15,000-square-foot floor plates, exposed steel beams, and high ceilings, plus newly revamped elevators, lobbies and mechanicals.

“Our average tenant size at Manhattan West is 200,000 square feet,” Cheikin said to CO. “We wanted to provide those tenants with the ability to grow and shrink a bit and provide them WITH the resources for conferencing and flexible work environments.”

He also explained that the loft building will connect to Manhattan West’s 250,000 square feet of retail, anchored by a 60,000-square-foot Whole Foods.

Brookfield had originally planned to knock down 424-434 West 34th Street in order to amass a larger site that would allow for a big retail and hotel project, Cheikin said. “But when we actually got into the building, we realized it was a really good turn-of the century printing loft building that added some authenticity to our site of what the neighborhood used to be.”

Spaces is planning to make The Lofts its flagship outpost in the five boroughs, where it already has 44 locations and 1.3 million square feet of offices, according to Michael Beretta, the vice president of network development in Spaces’ Americas division. This will also be its largest space in the city, where typical Spaces locations average 30,000 to 50,000 square feet apiece.

JLL’s Jim Wenk, Brannan Moss and Kirill Azovtesv represented Spaces. Cushman & Wakefield’s Bruce Mosler, Josh Kuriloff, Robert Lowe, Ethan Silverstein, Matthias Li and Whitney Anderson worked on behalf of Brookfield.

Mosler declined to comment on the deal, and a spokesman for JLL didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The seven floors will be constructed with movable walls, prebuilt suites, large coworking areas, conference rooms and event spaces. The interiors are going to be renovated with a “cool and contemporary design that’s European in nature and a mix of casual and interesting while still remaining a very professional place where companies can do business,” Beretta said. He added that the company chose The Lofts because it’s a building with “character” but the project will offer all the amenities of new construction, including a significant retail component.

Spaces already rents at a few other Brookfield properties, including 245 Park Avenue, 1 Liberty Plaza and Brookfield Place. It expects to open at Manhattan West in late 2018.

Pioneering, Luxembourg-based coworking provider IWG Plc (formerly Regus) owns Spaces, which has tried to pitch in urban markets as a trendy competitor to WeWork

The lower half of 424-434 West 34th Street is currently home to several small office tenants. All of them will be vacated by 2021, when Brookfield plans to put the building’s remaining 100,000 square feet of office space on the market.

Source: commercial