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CBRE acquires stake in flex-space provider Industrious

CBRE has acquired a 35 percent interest in flex-space provide, Industrious, with an option to grow its investment to a 40 percent total stake.

The investment significantly increases CBRE’s participation in the flexible workplace sector and positions the company to meet rising demand from occupiers for agile space solutions – a trend that is being accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Recent CBRE surveys show that 86 percent of its occupier clients, which include many of the world’s largest global corporations, plan to incorporate flex office space in their real estate strategies, and 82 percent will favor buildings that offer a flex-office component.

The deal follows Newmark’s announcement earlier this month that it is buying Knotel, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and given up multiple locations in the U.S. as part of the process.

Unlike Knotel, however, Industrious has managed to grow during the pandemic with its model of partnering with landlords rather than paying them rent.

BOB SULENTIC

“Our investment in Industrious is consistent with our view that flexible office space is playing an increasingly central role in companies’ occupancy strategies and aligns us with an exceptional operator and an outstanding leadership team that is executing a great strategy,” said CBRE president Bob Sulentic, who will join the Industrious Board of Directors along with Global Chief Investment Officer Emma Giamartino.

 “We have been building our Hana flex-space business expressly to meet the flex-space opportunity and Industrious now enables us to capitalize on it at scale with a portfolio of well-situated units in key markets.”

Under the agreement, CBRE’s Hana will be merged into Industrious, which has more than 100 locations in some 50 U.S. cities.

CBRE acquired its 35 percent ownership in Industrious in the form of primary and secondary shares. The consideration includes approximately $200 million in cash and the transfer of Hana.

“Industrious is committed to being the voice that matters most in the future of work, and we share a vision with CBRE for delivering market-leading workplace experiences on a global scale,” said Jamie Hodari, Co-Founder and CEO of Industrious.

“This investment grew out of a shared understanding that neither of our organizations can fulfill that vision alone. It’s a tremendous moment for Industrious to get this vote of confidence, and we look forward to expanding what we can do for our customers while keeping the same commitment to the highest customer satisfaction in the industry.”

When the transaction closes, the 10 existing Hana locations in the U.S. and U.K. will be operated by Industrious.

CBRE and Industrious will also work collaboratively to develop and bring to market new innovative solutions in the flex-space sector, offering products that will set a new standard for flexible, amenity-driven office environments. These offerings will combine Industrious’ demonstrated skills in operating market-leading flexible workplaces with CBRE’s extensive corporate occupier and investor relationships, together with broad service offerings and expertise.

CBRE’s Andrew Kupiec, who leads the Hana business, will oversee CBRE’s day-to-day relationship with Industrious once the Hana transaction is completed in the second quarter. Kupiec will also continue as the leader of CBRE’s Host employee experience platform.

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