Empty Offices Get Revamped: NYC’s Landlords Embrace Coworking For Flexible Future

The transformation of empty offices into coworking spaces in New York, driven by changing work models and landlords’ adaptations, is reshaping the commercial real estate market.

Originally published in Allwork.space .

As the workforce continues to embrace hybrid and flexible work arrangements, New York’s commercial real estate market is making changes to adapt.  

According to a report published by The Real Deal, landlords are increasingly converting empty offices into coworking spaces to meet the changing demands of businesses and workers alike. Some firms have even launched their own in-house coworking programs to cater to the growing need for adaptable workspaces. These spaces attract a diverse range of clients — including startups, freelancers, and satellite employees of companies based in other markets. 

The rapid rise of coworking spaces is evident in the success of companies like IWG, which signed deals for 867 new centers in 2023, nearly double the number of the previous year. This surge in popularity is driven by the increasing adoption of hybrid work models, with many businesses seeking smaller, non-central offices to accommodate their distributed workforce. IWG predicts that 30% of all commercial real estate will be flexible workspace by 2030 as it expands quickly to growing markets around the world. 

To help facilitate quick and cost-effective transformations of traditional office spaces, landlords are turning to off-the-shelf modular furniture and privacy solutions like focus pods. According to The Real Deal, companies such as Room, a Brooklyn-based manufacturer of modular office pieces, have seen a significant uptick in demand — serving over 7,000 businesses. 

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By embracing modularity and flexibility in office design, landlords can reduce buildout costs while providing tenants with adaptable workspaces that cater to their changing needs. This shift towards coworking spaces reflects the broader industry movement towards accommodating more flexible work arrangements and shorter lease terms. 

As the commercial real estate sector continues to navigate the challenges posed by the changing nature of work, the pivot to coworking spaces represents a strategic response to market demands and an opportunity for landlords to optimize their assets in the face of uncertainty. 

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