By Sarah Trefethen
Here’s a side effect of the shifting face of business in the new economy: Clients in search of small, pre-built office are no longer necessarily interested in working in dingy closets, and landlords in premiere office buildings are taking note.
Silverstein Properties announced Monday that the 61 offices in the “Silver Suites” atop 7 World Trade Center – which, with spaces starting at 100 s/f, include some very un-dingy closets — are 50 percent occupied, four months ahead of the company’s anticipated leasing schedule. 15,000 s/f of the pre-built space has been leased, according to the company.
“Our vision was to provide incredible space and service in a great building to growing companies who would not normally have an opportunity to move here,” Tal Kerret, SVP, Silverstein Properties, said in a statement. “Since we opened our doors, we have welcomed technology, marketing, film, medical and finance companies. I look forward to working with each of them as they move to the next phase of their business.”
Tenants include Blackfield Capital, a hedge fund, which has taken 18 offices including two corner offices; Communication Partners & Associates, a public relations firm, which has taken one corner suite; Syntactx, a healthcare company that specializes in medical device trials and has taken three offices; Tanexis Productions, an entertainment company that has taken two offices and other firms in the fields of technology, advertising and law, according to the announcement.
Silver Suites features 61 fully-equipped offices with amenities including conference rooms, a business lounge, Skype lounges, copy centers and a break room, all with views of the Manhattan skyline. The offices range from 100 s/f to 1,000 s/f, and the largest offices interconnect to create more space and accommodate growing companies.
Space is leased on a per-desk basis for terms from six months to one year. Silverstein representatives would not comment on rental rates, but according to one source, rates start at about $600 per desk, and can go as high as $1,000 per desk for a spot in a corner office.
Landlords don’t have to carve up their space into pre-builds on their own to benefit from this trend. There are also a growing number of companies that specialize in short-term leases for small portions of office space.
Regus, one such provider of flexible workplaces, in February signed a 16-year lease for the entire 54,991 s/f 24th floor of Brookfield Properties’ 3 World Financial Center, at 200 Vessy Street.
“There’s been a greater diversification of the temp office suite concept, and that includes the creation of these facilities in the trophy-type assets,” said John Wheeler of Jones Lane LaSalle, who represented Brookfield in negotiations with Regus. Asking rents were $60 psf.
With financial services and legal firms taking up smaller and smaller spaces, some of the demand can be attributed to change in the way traditional tenants do business. But Wheeler also detects broader forces at work.
“I think we’re seeing a change in the workplace that is more about creating your own business and charting your own path, as opposed to climbing the ladder in a traditional corporation,” he said.