The future of coworking is a little uncertain in a post-pandemic world.
To some, the idea of sharing a working space again with strangers all using common amenities and an open-air office is a viral nightmare. To others, like companies that are saying goodbye to their huge HQs in favor of a more permanent remote or hybrid work situation, the chance for an employee to have a work station outside of the home is a savior.
While some coworking spaces in Philadelphia have closed in the last year and a half — like last week’s Indy Hall announcement and another closure of a 1776 just in 2021 — others are opening new spaces.
Add global coworking company Mindspace to that latter list. The Israel-based company announced its intent for a Philadelphia location back in early 2020, right before the pandemic hit the region. But it wasn’t until we saw an ad for the space’s open house that it became clear the company followed through.
Mindspace now occupies 42,000 square feet of the Wanamaker Building adjacent to City Hall. It’s the company’s third U.S. location and unofficial flagship for its American presence, said Josh Evans, the Philly senior community manager who comes to the company after time with WeWork.
It’s tough to see patterns in the type of workers who are joining the space, Evans said. Some are looking for a space to bring clients outside of their home office, or are coming from another coworking space in the city. Others have been told their company’s HQs aren’t coming back in an official way and are looking for a spot to work around other people with shared amenities.
The space has been open since April, Evans said, but as vaccines become more prevalent and the city continues to open up, folks are looking to make a decision about their workspace. They’re following local guidelines as well as the guidelines from the Wanamaker building, which currently say vaccinated guests do not need to wear masks.
The Center City space offers a mix of hot desks, dedicated desks and private offices. There’s private offices on the floor that can be rented by a company to host their workforce from two to 29 workstations, and five private suites that host teams of about 40 to 60 people.
Membership for a hot desk is $400 a month, a dedicated desk is $500 a month and private offices start at $1,300. All members have access to the space’s lounge areas, kitchen, event space, phone booths and nine conference rooms, as well as the Wanamaker Building’s gym.
Mindspace doesn’t follow the same leasing structure as many other coworking spaces. The company entered a partnership with Rubenstein Partners, a private real estate investment management and advisory firm that works with the Wanamaker Building. Under a management agreement, Mindspace develops and operates the workspaces for companies of various sizes on behalf of Rubenstein and under the Mindspace brand.
It provides additional management services through its “Mindspace for Landlords” offering which includes managing building amenities like meeting rooms and event spaces, communal areas, guest and check-in services, community programming, and food and beverage offering as well as other concierge-type services. This Philadelphia location is the company’s third in the U.S., with locations in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.
“This new relationship is a direct response to changes in the commercial real estate market. Landlords recognize that the traditional leasing model has been disrupted, and that flex spaces and coworking can help broaden their offerings to tenants,” Mindspace CEO Dan Zakai said in a statement about the Philadelphia location. “Our goal is to pioneer the next level of the business model in the industry through innovative partnerships with landlords. We are excited about our Wanamaker Building plans and the partnership with Rubenstein.”
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