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Luxury Rental Buildings Take ‘Working From Home’ to the Next Level

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When Christopher Dosman and his wife, Yao Lee, were looking for an apartment in New York last year, they put together a list of their usual favorites: washer / dryer, proximity to grocery stores, to the subway. Access. But their top priority was space for working from home.

In April, the couple moved to Willoughby, a 34-story tower in downtown Brooklyn, and paid $ 4,300 a month for a bedroom. The building is unfinished, but the coworking space on the 22nd floor has semi-private chaise lounges and a meeting room overlooking Fort Greene Park.

“I’m there every day,” said Dosman, an entrepreneur who founded several tech start-ups. “There are days when I never leave the building.”

More and more Dosman as American companies adapt to employee demands for flex schedules Workers who want to work remotelyBut not necessarily from the sofas and kitchen tables in their living room.

The pandemic forced the outflow of workers from the office in 2020. Even if the workplace resumes, 59% of employees still work remotely. A survey released earlier this year by the Pew Research Center.. Of these teleworkers, 78% said they would like to continue after the pandemic, up from 64% two years ago.

Developers across the country are doing what they can to make remote work more convenient and seduce prospective tenants, with luxury rental buildings and condominiums hanging essentials such as private offices, conference rooms, task lights, and wall monitors. Because of the amenity war has begun, podcasting booths and high-speed internet.

“That’s what you have to do today. Camden Property Trust CEO and Chairman Rick Campo includes a workspace called the Hub in the common area of ​​Camden Harbor View, a residential development in Long Beach, California. I did.

In most buildings, the cost of workspace is included in the rent, but some landlords charge for booking large meetings or long-term rooms. Coworking companies like Industrious and WeWork are starting to get attention, hoping they won’t be kicked out of what could be a lucrative market.

Developers have been adding space to their apartments for years as architects designed bedrooms and alcove to accommodate desks and other work equipment. This trend is only accelerating in a pandemic. Matt Vance, senior economist at real estate services firm CBRE, said the average new apartment size since the pandemic began has increased by 9.6 percent compared to what was delivered 10 years before the pandemic. The increase corresponds to an extra 90 square feet, or the size of a bedroom or workspace.

He added that demand for workspaces is expanding into common areas as well. “For the last decade, we’ve brought a cyber cafe with a booth and coffee machine, a shared space in the apartment building,” he said.

But as Americans settle into a hybrid work model, they want a more specialized space where they can hold private zoom calls and gather clients for presentations without heading to the office.

“People have great expectations,” said John G. Weigel, senior development executive at Divco West, a real estate services company. “We are encouraged to make sure this is as robust as possible.”

DivcoWest’s portfolio includes Park 151, a 20-story apartment complex in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with 468 apartments and a common area including five dedicated telecommuting spaces and meeting rooms opening this fall. It’s a schedule.

“This is an important part of our amenity package and it’s getting bigger,” Weigel said. “We have proven the feasibility of working from home, so we can see this further.”

Other developers are switching gears during construction. At Prospect Heights’ Brooklyn Rossing, Thomas Brodsky, a partner at family-owned developer Brodsky Organization, has abandoned its open lounge plans and replaced the building’s collaborative work space with semi-private cubicles and “phone booths.” August.

Developer Macklowe Properties has also enhanced technology at One Wall Street, a condo in downtown Manhattan, adding a microphone and camera for virtual meetings and a booth for podcasting to the collaborative workspace. , The company’s marketing director.

There is growing interest in telecommuting spaces as companies work to reduce office footprint. According to a report released in May, office vacancy rates increased from the end of 2019 to the end of 2021 in metropolitan areas where the percentage of telecommuting employees is high. Moody’s Analytics..

Real estate watchers say the concept has a foothold and, if properly managed, can be successful in the long run.

“We think this can be a nuisance because of the strong demand from apartments for this space,” said Vance of CBRE.

Thomas Lasalvia, senior economist at Moody’s Analytics, said the model could be extended to denser areas to include the surrounding community. “You don’t have to be a resident of the apartment using that space. It could be a neighbor,” he said.

Its larger vision is drawing attention from Industrialious, a workplace provider with 150 offices in 65 cities around the world. Jamie Hodari, CEO and co-founder of the company, said:

He pointed out Monrovia, California. There, AvalonBay Communitys, a real estate investment trust that owns shares in 296 apartment communities, rents a private workspace on the ground floor of an apartment complex to residents and the general public under the brand Second. Space work suite.

Hodari added that many large apartment owners contacted his company about the partnership. “We are pretty close to announcing with one of them,” he said.

Residents have various reasons to look for a “third space” that is a common area separate from their home or office. Their home office may be too small, too distracting, or not visible enough to be an expert for important virtual calls with clients.

You may also have a spouse, like Dosman, who wants to work from home.

“Most of my work is talking to others,” he said. “If you get a call at the same time, it won’t work.”

Due to the additional benefits of telecommuting space, some tenants had to reassess the amount of room they needed for their apartment.

Career and Business Coach Amina Al Tai was drawn to One South First, a luxurious building in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg district, for a telecommuting space with two private and large meeting rooms. She reluctantly took the studio apartment because there was nothing else, but when the one bedroom opened, she realized she didn’t need it.

“The amenity space is great,” she said. “I use it at least twice a month.”

For Altay, this space allowed her to resume face-to-face meetings. This is an important part of her pandemic and disrupted business. She tried a typical coworking space, but she said the quality was inconsistent. One South First pays $ 100 for a 4-hour rental of a private room where clients can be placed in chairs overlooking Domino Park and the East River.

“Sometimes I have some experiences that I can’t translate through the screen,” she said.

These spaces also help tenants reduce other monthly costs, such as transportation and eating out. “If you’re not commuting, you can save $ 100 a month,” said La Salvia of Moody’s.

But one of the most overlooked benefits is something that apartments alone cannot offer, and many workers seek after two years of remote work. It’s a social experience. “It creates a more communal atmosphere,” Vance said.

At Willoughby, Dosman and Lee were able to meet their neighbors through social events such as happy hour mixers and wine tastings in work-at-home spaces. From this experience, he and his friends began to set up meetings with the founders of other startups in New York, saying it would cost $ 250 an hour to host an event in the building.

“We looked at several different places for the event, and it’s a lot cheaper than the bar,” he said. “This is a good place and it’s getting better.”

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