This flexible leasing model might be just what the startup community needs - Technical.ly Delaware

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Dec. 14, 2017 9:49 am

This flexible leasing model might be just what the startup community needs

Newark is home to many of Delaware's startups, but not many startup-friendly office options. University Office Plaza is hoping to change that.

Could this become the tech startup hub of Newark?

(Courtesy photo)

On the outside, University Office Plaza on Chapman Road in Newark looks pretty much like any other suburban office park, with six rather nondescript brick buildings built in the 1980s. Its tenants include a state agency, nonprofits, attorneys and healthcare offices. Pretty standard for a park like this.

It also has a lot of space available, and its owners are ready to convert it into just about anything.

Marvin Schnee, president of Sundance REA, the New York real estate investment firm that purchased the office park in 2015, sees a Delaware tech boom coming, and is eager to accommodate startups that need only a micro-office. Schnee wants the space to grow with them.

“If a tenant signs a two-year lease and grows out of the space in a year, I’ll rip up the lease and put them in a bigger space,” Schnee, a classic New York type, said. “You can print that.”

"Our plans for this space is whatever new tenants want."
Ari Roth, University Office Plaza

Above the leasing office are halls of micro-offices that can accommodate one or two people, but no more than that. Other offices are merely small or midsized, all the way up to huge empty spaces that make up entire floors.

“We’ve been looking to have a coworking space here,” Schnee says. “It’s what this area needs.”

At an event in September 2017. (Photo courtesy of University Office Plaza)

At an event in September 2017. (Photo courtesy of University Office Plaza)

Considering its proximity to the University of Delaware and Newark’s affordability, a coworking space in the complex seems like it would do well. The large spaces are blank slates, and Schnee’s management company, LLCS, works with tenants to fully renovate them as they wish before they move in.

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“The spaces are turnkey,” said Ari Roth, the Plaza’s asset manager. “If you want a conference room, we’ll build a conference room. If you need a refrigerator over here, we’re happy to put one in. Our plans for this space is whatever new tenants want.”

But what really seems to have potential is the flexible leasing that allows a small company to move within the complex as it grows.

Coworking isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but one thing is pretty clear: startups that are looking for small, affordable office spaces with flexible leases that aren’t part of the coworking model have few options.

“We want tech startups,” said Schnee.

Michael Schnee (second from right) at University Office Plaza. (Courtesy photo)

Michael Schnee (second from right) at University Office Plaza. (Courtesy photo)

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