Coworking to inhabit more vacant retail

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Aug. 21, 2018

Coworking is growing rapidly in markets across the U.S., fueling estimates that flexible space could grow to encompass 30 percent of all office stock by 2030.

Simultaneously, large retailers are consolidating their store footprints and property owners are seeking opportunities to refresh retail space with new tenants, looks and uses.

Current market dynamics beg the question: Can coworking work in a shopping center?

We set out to find the answer in a recent report examining 75 coworking locations totaling more than 1 m.s.f. of retail space across the U.S.

Results revealed coworking is a viable and mutually beneficial option for retail centers and coworking concepts.

Coworking locations increase occupancy and drive additional foot traffic with a guaranteed daytime population, helping revitalize retail centers and attract new retail tenants. Meanwhile, retail locations offer coworking members access to amenities, walkability and ample parking.

Research revealed that approximately 55 percent of retail coworking locations were in suburban submarkets a function of both lower rents and a growing suburban millennial population. Moreover, coworking spaces target mid-to top-tier retail properties in areas with above average household incomes. The average household income within a 3-mile radius of the coworking retail spaces studied was approximately $100,000. Most coworking spaces also require neighborhoods with ample dining options as well as service-oriented retail.

Two retail coworking locations in Houston capture the essence of this trend: Regus in Pearland Town Center, a 656,251-square-foot open-air shopping mall, and Serendipity Labs in Imperial Market, a planned 850,000-square-foot mixed-use lifestyle center underway in Sugar Land.

Retail-based coworking spaces are successfully integrating work and play, bringing workers and consumers together, and bringing new life and experiences to retail locations. We expect further growth in these hybrid spaces where the synergy between coworking and retail is maximized.

Download the full report: Can coworking work at the mall?

Read more about retail and coworking from CoStar News and the Houston Business Journal.