A cottage industry of niche office share providers is vying for a slice of the WeWork-dominated market
One of the co-working areas at Con Artist Collaborative (Photo: Michael Hicks for The Real Deal)
At first glance, the Center for Social Innovation looks like your typical co-working or start-up office in the city. Inside the 27,000-square-foot former warehouse space at 601 West 26th Street in West Chelsea, there are rows of professionals sitting at long communal work tables and hunched over laptops, potluck lunch meetings, glassed-in offices occupied by 爱上海龙凤419桑拿 smaller firms and, of course, high-design touches in the form of Herman Miller chairs.
But as its name suggests, CSI is focused on like-minded tenants drawn from the realms of philanthropy and social entrepreneurship. Founded in 2003, the Toronto-based nonprofit caters exclusively to organizations and individuals such as web designers, bookkeepers and lawyers whose work involves a social mission. Here in New York, the tenants include the consulting arm for GOOD Magazine, a publication about philanthropy, and the LGBT Bar Association. The space, which opened in 2013, has been operating at full capacity since 2014. Tenants apply for memberships starting at $125 a month for a part-time “hot desk,” with fees running up to $1,200 a month for a private enclosed office. The organization fundraises to pay for gaps in overhead costs.
William Elder, an executive vice president and managing director at RXR Realty , CSI’s landlord, said it was in part attracted to the organization for its lineup of cultural programs and symposiums that other tenants in the building — including Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Tommy Hilfiger USA — can attend. “It creates a great social experience for the entire building,” he said.
Both parties declined to say how much CSI’s rent is, but David Gise, CSI’s director of operations, hinted that the terms were very favorable for the nonprofit. “We have an extremely close relationship with our landlord,” he said.
Call it a “do-gooder” version of WeWork.
Today, New York City boasts 180 co-working locations totaling 6 million square feet, according to Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. Another 400,000 square feet are in the pipeline. But inspired in part by WeWork’s $16 billion valuation, entrepreneurs are now seeking ways to offer twists on the generalist model by supporting specific professions and interests. In an industry where WeWork occupies 2.7 million square feet, followed by Regus with 1.5 million square feet, most of these niche players are minnows. Although there are no official statistics on niche oo-working providers, Glenn Brill, managing director of real estate solutions at FTI Consulting, estimated that they make up roughly one quarter of the industry.
In many ways, niche spaces are a logical outgrowth of the co-working explosion. Dominic McMullan, a WeWork spokesman, said that the company has anecdotally found that cert[……]