Chicago's Industrious to open massive Philly coworking space, then another - Technical.ly Philly

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Aug. 29, 2014 8:30 am

Chicago’s Industrious to open massive Philly coworking space, then another

The venture-backed Industrious plans to launch in Center City and Old City. Entering the Philadelphia market is part of an aggressive rollout strategy for the company, which caters to both freelancers and growing startups.

The Industrious coworking space in Chicago.

(Photo courtesy of Horn Design)

Industrious, a Chicago-based coworking space cofounded by two New York City entrepreneurs, will become the coworking space with the biggest Philadelphia footprint this winter.

Industrious plans to open a two-floor, 20,000-square-foot shared office space in Center City (the 17th and 18th floors of 230 S. Broad St.) in November. It also plans to open another 20,000-square-foot space in Old City in December, said Industrious cofounder Jamie Hodari.

Industrious is still finalizing lease details on the Old City building and could not share the address, he said. If those two spaces open, it will make Industrious the first Philadelphia coworking space with two locations.

Why secure another space before even opening a first?

The demand for this kind of flexible, community-oriented office space in Philadelphia is real, said Hodari, 32, of Brooklyn.

“We couldn’t be responsive to the demand with just one space,” he told Technical.ly Philly in an interview this week.

Industrious is the second large-scale, shared office space to announce a Philadelphia expansion. A company from Miami called Pipeline announced it would open a 21,000-square-foot space in Center City this fall. These efforts dwarf the homegrown options, like Center City’s Benjamin’s Desk (6,000 square feet) and Callowhill’s Venturef0rth (10,000 square feet). Only Kensington’s Impact Hub comes close in size (27,000 square feet).

Industrious-Chicago_Private-Offices

Industrious’s Chicago location. (Photo courtesy of Horn Design)

Industrious offers a shared office environment that’s a little more corporate than what Hodari calls your average startup incubator (there won’t be any ping-pong tables or bean-bag chairs, he said) but less buttoned-up than your average office park. It’s something in between, Hodari said.

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Catering to national tech companies that want satellite offices in several cities and startups that have outgrown their first incubator, Industrious Philly will have communal space but also a focus on private offices.

That’s similar to Industrious in Chicago, where one-third of its roughly 60 company tenants are early-stage startups, one-third are local offices of national firms (which Hodari wouldn’t disclose) and one-third are design firms and later-stage startups.

After launching in Chicago in the summer of 2013, Industrious is planning an aggressive rollout strategy in the next six months. (Industrious first launched in Chicago, not the founders’ hometown of Brooklyn, because New York City is a “cutthroat” place for business with “no margin for error,” Hodari said.) It’ll launch in its second market, Atlanta, within the next month. Philadelphia, Brooklyn, St. Louis, Raleigh, Austin and Nashville are next.

The idea, Hodari said, is that people who have started an office space like this in one city know the ropes and won’t make the same mistakes again. Industrious’s model also involves partnering with national tech companies who will open offices in many of its locations.

“There are a lot of advantages to being part of a larger, national network,” he said.

Industrious is closing a round of venture funding. It has previously raised two rounds from angels and family and friends.

The company will being offering tours and accepting tenants to its Broad Street location next month. Hodari said his team is still finalizing prices but that they will be “competitive.”

Reserve a space

While Industrious is working with a local architecture firm and a local construction group to build out the spaces, it is not working with a local real estate developer. (Miami’s Pipeline is partnering with developer David Grasso.) Industrious plans to hire a community manager. See the Craigslist posting here.

When asked if he thought there was a demand for shared office spaces, Hodari said, unequivocally, yes. That’s not the question, he said. The real question is who will prosper.

“There might be a lot of competition,” he said.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes has been covering the Philadelphia tech scene since 2012. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

  • thegreengrass

    Wow. Coworking City. This is a great location for not only Philadelphians, but for New Jerseyans coming in from PATCO! The 12-13th & Locust station entrance is half a block away.

  • Amanda Phickle

    I wish them luck and everything but this seems like another case of an NY or non-Philly company NOT doing their research and NOT understanding how the Philly market works. Philly freelancers and small companies want (and have) good options, but we tend to get annoyed at imports who think they’ll take us by storm. Two 20,000 foot spaces is overkill, unless they already have some large companies ISO satellite space lined up to rent. In which case, stop calling it coworking!!!! Not every building that allows people to work in it is a coworking space.

  • Lauren

    Curious: is this advertising? Why the “reserve a space” button? Seems odd to have a call-to-action in a news piece that already links to their site elsewhere.

    • Brian James Kirk

      Hey Lauren, all of our sponsored content is marked as such, and this is not an advertising relationship. We believe strongly that call-to-actions are an important part of news, and you’ll often see those CTAs in our editorial coverage, directing people to important events, initiatives and to community anchors, like this, as well. Thanks for the feedback–we will always strive to be transparent about our process.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/sophietran Sophie Tran

    The more options, the better. Can’t hurt, I think. Though I’m a Philly native, I’m not picky about Philly vs non-Philly. Either way, connects communities together. However, I’d like to highlight a good point made by another commenter, @amandaphickle:disqus: Not every building that allows multiple workspaces is a “coworking” space. I see the real appeal and value in coworking spaces in the fact that coworking spaces offer immediate and direct access to specific resources for a particular group of individuals or businesses; and also that coworking spaces help facilitate collaborations by making the likelihood of launching or collaborating on projects together faster. I find that niche communities are best for those who are seeking to be at a certain level of focus and productivity.

  • Jules1

    With all the coworking spaces opening up in Philly, it would be great if Technically Philly could create an article and/or spreadsheet comparing all the features of the different spaces to help make informed decisions..

    • Zack Seward

      Hey, great piece of feedback. We’ll look into that. Thanks.

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