Freelancing is no longer a niche profession. A 2017 study by Upwork and the Freelancers Union found that there are over 57 million freelancers in the United States– more than a third of the working population– and they are expected to be the majority of the workforce by 2027.
Apartment communities need to accommodate their residents’ changing work habits. Kephart Architects has been at the forefront of this trend by adding innovation spaces in lieu of traditional business rooms. However, some multifamily developers are going further.
Apartment and condo developments around the country are now adding full-fledged coworking spaces as an amenity. These spaces come with lightning fast wifi, ample coffee, a variety of seating, and some are even open to non-residents. For developers who make the investment, they are being rewarded in resident loyalty and extra revenue.
The Benefits of Coworking as an Amenity
Coworking as an amenity not only solves the remote work problem for residents– it also tackles the loneliness problem.
“The irony of today’s digital connectedness is that many people actually are lonelier than ever,” says Trevor Hightower, Craftwork Coffee Co’s new president and chief marketing officer, in a Houston Culture Map article.
Craftwork Coffee Co. creates coworking/coffee shop spaces and has recently started building locations inside multifamily buildings. “We’re uniquely positioned to combat the loneliness epidemic with a higher vision of coffee and workplace experience. Fighting loneliness is really the heartbeat of who we are.”
Coworking is also good for the bottom line, especially if the space is open for non-residents. Multifamily developers can earn incremental revenue from their coworking space while also improving the work environment for their residents.
5 Apartment Communities Where Coworking Comes Standard
If you’re considering coworking in your next development, look no further than these five amazing communities for inspiration:
Two Light – Kansas City, Missouri
Downtown Kansas City’s newest luxury highrise will soon include Spark Coworking on its first floor. The facility will consist of 15,000 square feet of mixed-use workspace, including open tables, private desks, meeting rooms, and lounge areas. Two Light residents will be eligible for work/live leasing packages, but non-residents can also join Spark, creating a truly vibrant collaborative space.
Cordish Companies, the owners of both Two Light and Spark, are calling this the first co-living opportunity for “the Kansas City startup ecosystem.” Cordish created a similar community in Baltimore’s Power Plant District in 2016.
Flatiron Domain – Austin, Texas
Flatiron Domain, a new Austin community set to open later this year, will feature Craftwork Coffee Co. on its first floor. Craftwork has three other locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but this will be the first inside a multifamily building.
Craftwork recently acquired WorkFlourish, a Houston startup that transformed underused apartment amenity spaces into coworking facilities. Flatiron Domain is Craftwork’s first project since the acquisition, but they have plans for 15 more spaces. Residents will still have to pay a membership fee for Craftwork but are likely to receive discounts.
Ascension on the Bayou – Houston, Texas
Ascension on the Bayou was WorkFlourish’s pilot location for their apartment coworking concept. WorkFlourish teamed up with the developer of Ascension, PRD, to create a beautiful business balcony and coworking library. The space was open to residents as well as non-residents for a monthly membership fee.
WorkFlourish was more than just an apartment amenity. Up to 85% of the WorkFlourish members were non-residents, and the coworking space signed up 25 new leases for Ascension.
WorkFlourish shut down the Ascension space after being acquired by Craftwork Coffee Co., but Ascension still runs the space for residents only. Residents still have the option to rent an office.
Austin Nichols House – Brooklyn, New York
When LIVWRK Real Estate considered possible amenities for their Brooklyn warehouse turned high-end waterfront condos, Founder Asher Abehsera thought, “the smartest thing was to create spaces around how people work.”
The coworking space at Austin Nichols House features long shared tables, picnic-style seating, indoor and outdoor working areas, and a private courtyard. There is also a glassed-in children’s area so parents can keep an eye on their kids while they work.
Unfortunately, the coworking space in Austin Nichols is for residents only, but it comes as a free amenity for the residents.
33 Bond St. – Brooklyn, New York
Find yourself at HomeWork in Brooklyn and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a standalone coworking space. In fact, HomeWork is the residents-only workspace inside the TF Cornerstone highrise, 33 Bond St.
With long work tables, private meeting rooms, and WeWork-esque dinner booths, HomeWork brings all the trappings of a legit coworking space to the 714-unit tower. It even comes with free coffee.
Bringing Coworking to Your Community
Adding coworking space to your multifamily community is not only great for residents, but it’s also good for your bottom line. Coworking spaces can bring in revenue in several different ways, including:
- Coworking membership fees from non-residents
- Short-term office rentals
- Leases signed by coworking members
- Higher lease retention
As the workforce continues to trend remote, residents are going to need comfortable places to work inside their buildings. Coworking not only creates a workspace, but a community.
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