Australia-based Servcorp, founded in 1978, is in part focused on the “virtual office” concept in which they were pioneers. The virtual office concept, for those unfamiliar, is for businesses who don’t need a full-time office space, but who desire a place to work occasionally—and a location to impress clients.
Servcorp differentiates itself by touting some prestigious addresses, and luxury digs.
What kind of prestige? Their New York office is on the eighty-fifth floor at One World Trade Center.
Or how about near the West Wing? There’s 1717 Pennsylvania Avenue in northwest, Washington, D.C.—which reportedly has a 95% occupancy rate. It’s the same building that served as transition offices for both the Clinton and Trump presidential campaigns last year, according to Politico.
They operate another location at 1155 F Street northwest, and both D.C. facilities offer Class A office space.
While its D.C. locations exclusively are centered on executive suites, virtual office members are granted access to all Servcorp locations, some of which have coworking availability.
Does that mean Servcorp is looking to take on the trend of coworking? Likely, no.
While comparing the two business models may be like comparing apples and oranges, there’s no doubt that Servcorp is keeping an eye on it.
The D.C. office space market is competitive, spurred by recent development, and coworking’s dramatic growth over the past decade. There are 70 co-working spaces alone in the District, which accounts for ten percent of total leasing activity.
Yet, Servcorp positions itself differently. “Fundamentally we believe in having recognizable addresses and having a great team, that’s going to help your business succeed,” said Marcus Moufarrige, COO of Servcorp, in conversation with Technical.ly DC.
Other offices “make it more of a college-like atmosphere,” he continued. “We are maybe a bit more realistic, a little more pragmatic and more professional in our product,” said Moufarrige.
So far, the professionals occupying the D.C. executive suites tend to be lawyers, consultants and government contractors.
You won’t find any Servcorp logos on the outside of the office suite. That lack of branding is by design, so that each of the members can envision the space as their own.
Servcorp’s local offerings include advanced VoIP and conferencing capabilities, Tier-1 network internet service, call routing and screening from multilingual receptionists, and even access to a nearby gym.
The company took its time expanding to the U.S. Both D.C. locations were opened in 2010, right around the same time the company sought to grow its U.S. portfolio, thanks to a strong Australian dollar and post-recession real estate deals.
Servcorp’s strength is its foothold in international markets with a massive inventory of properties around the world. Their large international footprint encompasses more than 150 offices in 54 cities, operating in 22 different countries and it is publicly listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
For startups and businesses in D.C. right now, it is mostly a “tenant’s market” for whatever type of office space is needed.
Yet, while the global virtual office concept may have legs to stand on, the local coworking model cannot be ignored; Servcorp will need to remain relevant to a younger demographic, as they balance the flex space model with the demands of the next generation.