A group of under-the-radar real estate investors with a sweeping footprint in the Garment District is breaking into the co-working office space game.
In February, Charles Aini, a real estate investor and lawyer, plans to launch Workville, a new shared-office platform. Aini and his partners, brother Ezra Aini and investor-broker Dori Jack Dashti, will kick off their first location at 1412 Broadway, a 24-story, 415,000-square-foot office property Aini owns with Isaac and Eli Chetrit. Isaac Chetrit, who is not involved in Workville, is focused on renovating the currently vacant space to prepare it for use.
Through a separate entity, Workville leases the 14,000-square-foot space on the 21st floor, paying a market-rate asking rent of $55 per square foot, Aini said. Workville will charge its members a monthly rate of up to $750 a seat.
The property at 1412 Broadway is otherwise fully occupied. Last month, StubHub signed a lease to occupy a service center at the base of the building.
Workville’s founders said they hope the mix of indoor and outdoor terrace space gives them an advantage.
“Rooftops and terraces at office buildings are often under-utilized,” Aini said.
As many as 180 people are expected to work in the space, he added. If Workville takes off, the goal is open four more outposts in the city over the next two years, including at buildings where the partners have no ownership stake.
Co-working is becoming an increasingly powerful presence in Manhattan’s office markets, and giants such as WeWork and Regus are among the city’s biggest office tenants. Seeing the opportunity, landlords are getting involved directly.
For example, Silver Suites, Silverstein Properties’ temporary office concept for small and growing companies, occupies a full floor at 7 World Trade Center and is soon opening at 4 World Trade Center.
The pair plans to convert office buildings at 315 West 35th Street and 1420 Broadway into hotels. Aini also wants to demolish his two-story, mixed-use property at 1162 Broadway in NoMad next month, to make way for a 52-key hotel being designed by Alex Adjmi.
Chetrit, a cousin of Joseph Chetrit whose operation is not affiliated with the Chetrit Group, is putting together a major assemblage in the Garment District.