Luxury Buildings’ Latest Amenity: Co-Working Spaces


“When I was last looking for apartments, a lot of buildings said they had an office, but when you got there you’d find this sterile room from the 1990s, lots of brown and mauve,” said Mr. Safa. “A space like that is utterly useless — an office should be about invoking a feeling of creativity and calm, it should be a place I want to bring people. Otherwise I’d stay in my apartment.”

Bryan Cho, executive vice president at Related, said that shortly after MiMA, a rental tower the company owns in Hell’s Kitchen, opened in 2011, residents started using the shared lounges as de facto co-working spaces.

“We noticed people were bringing their laptops to work among their neighbors,” said Mr. Cho. At subsequent developments, like Abington House and 15 Hudson Yards, Related has anticipated that demand.

Slated to open in 2018, 15 Hudson Yards will have a dedicated collaborative work studio with large communal tables, a computer bar and booth seating on the 51st floor. Mr. Cho said that Related has converted underused conference rooms at some of its other developments to computer bars.

Danny Fishman, a managing partner at GAIA Real Estate, said the company has “moved completely away from conference rooms.”

Photo

Maani Safa, a resident of Abington House, made use of the building’s co-working space.

Credit
Emon Hassan for The New York Times

At Nine52, a Hell’s Kitchen condo that began sales last spring, GAIA installed a 1,300-square-foot co-working space with corkboard walls, a long wooden table, sleek work carrels and a kitchen.

“First-time home buyers, in particular, tend to count their numbers,” said Maria Ienna, the director of sales, adding that “a lot of shared co-working spaces are really expensive, even for a desk.” At WeWork’s West 43rd Street location, for example, a dedicated desk starts at $550 a month and a private office at $930.

Asher Abehsera, the founder of Livwrk, which partnered with the Kushner Companies to develop the Austin, Nichols and Company warehouse on the Williamsburg waterfront into condos, said that when considering which amenities to add, “I thought the smartest thing was to create spaces around how people work.”

Taking cues from nearby coffee shops, the Austin Nichols House, which opened for sales last year, was designed with a large cafe area that opens onto a courtyard. There are long, shared work tables, benched seating with cafe tables, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and a glassed-in children’s play area next door so that parents can keep an eye on their kids while logging extra hours.

As the lines between home and work continue to blur, so, too, have their aesthetics. At Citizen 360, an Anbau Enterprises condo development on the Upper East Side, the co-working and lounge areas feature massive window seats, swivel chairs, area rugs and plants. Clodagh, the interior designer whose eponymous firm designed the space, pointed out that the demand for beautiful and comfortable work spaces is a corollary of being able — and expected — to work anytime, anywhere.

“Work has become totally nomadic,” she said. “The hospitality business has seeped into the office business, and they’ve both seeped into the home business.”

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