Developer Rishi Kapoor’s Location Ventures is launching virtual memberships geared toward coaxing people back to the office, as co-working operators get creative in the time of Covid.
Location Ventures recently opened its co-working concept Forum, a 9,000-square-foot space at 275 Alhambra Circle in Coral Gables. About 90 percent of the space is private office suites with space for up to six people.
The two levels of virtual memberships are meant to act as a bridge between a full return to the office and the typical virtual office space that offers a mailing address and other services. Kapoor, CEO of Location Ventures, referred to one new member, a landscape architect who had been working from home since March and “had enough of it.”
The first virtual membership gives members preferred access for meeting rooms, use of Forum’s address, mail forwarding and other services that typically come with memberships offered by giant co-working operators such as Regus. It costs $95 a month.
The second tier, called “access,” includes meeting room credits and desk space, aimed as a gateway to entrepreneurs and small businesses that want to return to the office slowly, Kapoor said. The access membership costs $150 a month. It also offers business support services, including a business coach, marketing and accounting support and referrals — some at an additional cost.
“It’s not an all or nothing approach,” Kapoor said. “It’s a nice in-between approach.”
The private suites at Forum are furnished and offer dedicated hard-wired Internet access to every seat. Private office suites start at $800 a month.
Location Ventures is planning to open in Coconut Grove and at an Urbin-branded project on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.
The company, which counts Terra’s David Martin and the Murphy family of Coastal Construction as its backers, owns its properties.
Kapoor is bullish on the long-term outlook of co-working, as are other operators in South Florida that include Büro and Pipeline Workspaces. He believes that traditional office rents will fall, and companies will want to reduce their physical footprints, a trend that is already happening.
“There’s zero doubt there will be downward pressure because of traditional tenants finding alternative ways to work,” Kapoor said.
Büro founder and CEO Michael Feinstein previously said that he expects companies to eliminate their headquarters, instead having employees work out of smaller satellite offices, from home or from a hybrid of the two options.
Still, the flexibility provided by co-working has resulted in members canceling their memberships or putting them on pause in recent months, operators say. Pipeline Workspaces co-founder and CEO Philippe Houdard said his firm has lost a few tenants. “The pandemic and subsequent economic downturn just accelerated their troubles,” he said. But it also has signed up new members since March, he added.
Meanwhile, larger operators such as WeWork and Industrious are looking for alternative ways to fill their space. Quest Workspaces, a co-working operator with locations in Florida and New York, is turning some of its office space into small pods for virtual learning.
Write to Katherine Kallergis at [email protected]