Office suite companies’ ship comes in
If ever there were a time to be in the temporary-office-space business, this is it. The phones have been ringing off the hook at many such firms in the city since Superstorm Sandy hit town last week. A case in point is Quest Workspaces.
“I literally called Laura at 9 or 10 at night on Wednesday; We were in crisis mode,” said Sean Black, an executive at Jones Lang LaSalle who represents software company Foursquare, referring to Laura Kozelouzek, the chief executive of Quest. “We wound up drawing up and signing a lease by about 1:30 in the morning.”
After its office at 568 Broadway in SoHo lost power last week Foursquare shifted about 40 people into the space, a 16,000-square-foot office on a portion of the 43rd floor in the midtown office tower 1271 Sixth Ave. The company worked there through last week, relocating by Monday back to its Broadway headquarters when power was restored over the weekend.
Quest was not short of other takers when Foursquare left. Ms. Kozelouzek, who was formerly an executive at the large office suite company Regus before starting Quest, said the entire space she has at 1271 Sixth Ave. has been snapped up by several users. Displaced from 7 Hanover Square in lower Manhattan, Guardian Life Insurance and another downtown tenant, the insurance company Aflac, which is coming out of 100 Wall St., just leased about 2,000 square feet each at the space.
“Normally we do one-month leases for space but we’ve moved that to two weeks to be accommodating to tenants affected by the storm who need space for an even shorter term,” Ms. Kozelouzek said. “These companies are employing a hoteling concept at the space where employees are being rotated in or are using it flexibly so that they can accommodate as many people with as little space as possible.”
Though the storm created a surge in demand in recent days, the temporary office suite industry has been growing in the city. Mr. Black has brokered several large office leases for WeWork, a provider of temporary offices.
“I think that everyone’s phones are ringing off the hook,” Mr. Black said. “Technology has made it possible for people to work in these types of environments plus the economy has changed and people are going out and starting new businesses and taking small spaces in which to start.”
Ms. Kozelouzek, who opened the Quest space at 1271 Sixth Ave. only this month, said she just signed a nearly 5,000-square-foot lease with Dewey LaBoeuf, for an office that is being used to wind down the bankrupt law firm’s operations. The space is also being used by several startup tech and financial companies, deals that had been arranged before the storm hit.