Industrious and Wythe Hotel turn empty rooms into offices

Two-person loft costs $200/day; partnership is latest example of how hotels are thinking about filling unused spaces

Wythe Hotel at 80 Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn and Industrious’ Jamie Hodari
Wythe Hotel at 80 Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn and Industrious’ Jamie Hodari

Faced with a glut of empty rooms, the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg is teaming up with flex-office provider Industrious to offer “on-demand workspaces.”

Through Aug. 31, the companies are offering full-day bookings on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Rooms will be furnished with custom office furniture, high-speed wi-fi, free coffee and pastry, a landline and smart-TV. Each room also has private outdoor space.

The companies said the daily rate for a two-person loft is $200, $250 for a three-person loft, $275 for a four-person loft.

Hotel occupancy plunged in March amid coronavirus, when many operators were forced to close indefinitely. Despite some improvement, it has remained low. For the week of July 11, New York City occupancy rate was 37 percent compared for hotels, according to STR. The national occupancy rate was 45.9 percent, down 38 percent year over year.

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The Wythe Hotel — the first boutique hotel to open on Wythe Avenue in 2012 — was one of several vacant hotels that offered rooms to medical personnel during the shutdown. It donated 2,000 rooms to front-line workers, according to its website. The Four Seasons in Midtown and the Room Mate Grace Hotel also offered free housing for doctors, nurses and staff; the Palace and Yotel offered space for non-critical patients.

The partnership with Industrious is the latest example of how hotels are thinking about how to fill empty spaces. Chains from Best Western to the St. Regis are also dabbling in office promotions, according to published reports. The St. Regis in Aspen, Colorado, for example, is offering discounted rates for extended “work-cations,” where guests can stay to work from the hotel.

While coronavirus ravaged the hotel industry, the office market has fared only slightly better. Industrious, which raised more than $220 million from investors since 2013, slashed one-third of its workforce in April. Recently, the company — which has a total of 100 locations in all 50 states — began reinstating furloughed workers as New York and other states began phased reopenings. In June, Industrious spearheaded an industry group that published a “return-to-office” playbook of best practices.

Office startups like Industrious say their flexible spaces are in demand, as employers reevaluate their office footprints. Industrious has reopened with restrictions including desks that are six feet apart, one-way hallways and new sanitation procedures for conference rooms and other communal areas.

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