06 Jun Jon Cartu Says: Yet another co-working space coming to Coral Gables
Home-schooling is driving professionals out of the house and into shared offices.
That helps explain strong pre-leasing activity at Forum, set to open in Coral Gables by late June. The 9,000-square-foot Forum is being developed by Coconut Grove-based real estate development and management firm Location Ventures, said the firm’s chief executive officer Rishi Kapoor. It is Location Venture’s first co-working space in South Florida.
While Forum includes about 900 square feet of floating office space, the facility on the ground floor of 275 Alhambra Circle is dominated by 88 private suites.
Kapoor began the $2.5 million build out in January and is opening despite the pandemic because, he said, “It’s where it lands on the calendar. We have been in the works for some time. We know the flex space will be a higher percentage of the market than it is today. It is only going to grow because it is meeting a lifestyle trend of business professionals,” Kapoor said.
Pre-leasing activity slowed in March and April, but increased in May and June, Kapoor said. Home-schooling and the desire for private offices are driving demand, he said. Businesses ranging from local developers to talent agents have called in recent weeks inquiring about space. Many suites are already secured by accountants, lawyers, real estate agents and marketing professionals.
Memberships range from $350 per month for common-area space to $800 per month for a private office. Membership includes on-site business support with marketing initiatives and legal referrals.
“People will see this not as a place to conduct business but a place to grow their business,” Kapoor said.
At Forum, safety protocols will include staff health screenings; masks will be required in common areas. “The most important amenity that will help drive confidence is higher amount of cleaning,” Kapoor said.
Demand for local co-working spaces is expected to grow over the next 18 months as more professionals relocate from the northeast, Kapoor said. “We believe Florida is going to be a net winner of COVID-19. People from the northeast in more dense places have been looking to move here, whether for weather, tax and, now, health reasons.”
Coral Gables has become a hotbed for shared office space. Despite ongoing woes, co-working giant WeWork has retained its office there; Pipeline Miami also offers floating space and dedicated suites in the City Beautiful, a hub for international companies.
Location Ventures bought the 52,719-square-foot, five-story building on Alhambra in 2018 for $12.5 million. It will relocate its headquarters to the building this month, dedicating 5,000 square feet on the top floor for its 25-person team, Kapoor said. The firm is planning to adapt the rest of the building for traditional office use.