Industrious Bets On New Office Lure, the ‘Work Club’: Desk, High-End Eatery and Full-Service Bar

Andria Cheng

July 7, 2022

‘People Are Willing To Come In for a Great Experience,’ Amid Slow Return To Workplace, Executive Says

Industrious, a flexible space provider that counts brokerage giant CBRE among its investors, is joining a major real estate owner, Nuveen, in opening what’s billed as the latest lure for office workers: an upscale workplace lounge concept in New York that includes a full-service bar, restaurant and coffee shop run by hospitality group DMK. There’s even a park.

The partnership represents the latest iteration of attempts seen nationwide to feature amenities and other offerings to entice workers back to the office. This concept also aims to help landlords such as Nuveen, the property arm of teachers retirement fund investor TIAA, find ways to use space to lure more than just building tenants.

Described as “the first-of-its-kind collaboration between a leading workplace operator, landlord and hospitality group,” the partners on Thursday opened an 18,000-square-foot flexible “work club” at Nuveen’s renovated The Gardens building located at 780 Third Ave. in the Midtown East neighborhood of Manhattan. Called The Clearing, the space includes a 12,000-square-foot publicly accessible park as well as DMK’s restaurant and grab-and-go offerings, providing access to shared work spaces and meeting rooms with “fine dining,” classes and events “all in one place,” they said in a statement.

“It’s really designed not only to support people during 9 to 5 hours,” Evan Fain, general manager of new ventures at Industrious, said in an interview. “It’s not only about providing a productive [workspace], but aligning with what we are hearing today around ... social connection. ... [It’s] about designing a space that meets a lot of needs we are seeing. Ultimately, we are building a work lounge that will allow the landlord to have incredible amenities space that changes the calculus of tenant offerings.”

With hybrid schedules of working some days in the office now part of the new pandemic-led work norm, flexible space providers are seen as potentially benefiting as companies figure out their office space strategy and seek alternatives beyond traditional leasing. To meet demand, flexible space providers are offering spaces in the suburbs, in outdoor retreat areas, or featuring spaces such as The Clearing to one-up each other. Almost 60% of U.S. occupiers said flexible space will be a “significant part,” or more than 10% of their portfolio, within two years, according to CBRE’s 2022 occupier survey.