Co-working takes off in suburban New Jersey

Shared work spaces skew older in Garden State communities

Somerset Development's Ralph Zucker and the Bell Labs site in Holmdel, New Jersey.
Somerset Development's Ralph Zucker and the Bell Labs site in Holmdel, New Jersey.

Co-working companies are gaining a toehold in suburban New Jersey, fed by demand from members who have left the corporate world and large companies who want to provide employees flexibility.

While the co-working movement, led by industry giant WeWork, is established in cities across the world, it’s gaining momentum in the suburbs, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The typical suburban shared-office facility is under 15,000 square feet, and is usually targeted at an older audience than those co-working locations that lure millennials with beer and ping pong.

“Many of my clients are in the sandwich generation, where they are taking care of children and aging parents,” said Donna Miller, president of C3Workplace, which opened a location in Sparta in 2013. “That’s a big load to carry so you have to be close to home and change things up on the fly.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Like its urban brethren, co-working in suburban New Jersey is focused on community, but it’s also driven by members looking to shorten their commute and establish more of a balance between personal and work lives.

And while there’s skepticism about whether co-working will last, New Jersey landlords are using the facilities as a way to pump life into more traditional suburban office projects.

Vi Coworking made that pitch to Somerset Development LLC, the company behind the massive Bell Works redevelopment in Holmdel, once the country’s largest vacant office building.

“We look at Vi and Design Lab as incubators and feeders bringing vitality and life on an evolving and continuing basis to Bell Works, so the value to us goes beyond the actual cost per square foot and income,” Somerset president Ralph Zucker said. “We look at those dollars also as marketing dollars creating a building amenity.” [WSJ]Rich Bockmann