Serendipity Labs will open a coworking space in one of White Plains best known business addresses: Westchester One.
The company, a national operator of coworking space headquartered in Rye, announced Tuesday that it will lease 20,000 square feet in the 21-story building and invest about $2 million to build out a two-story coworking lab on the building’s lower floors.
John Arenas, CEO and chairman of Serendipity Labs, said the company has been looking for the right space in White Plains for some time. Last year, company officials were introduced to the leadership of Argent Ventures, a New York City real estate firm that bought Westchester One, or 44 S. Broadway, for $138 million in June 2017.
Argent is working on renovations to modernize the building, including an updated cafeteria, lobbies and pop-up art galleries. Arenas said that vision fit with Serendipity’s plans for a space in the city, while Argent saw in Serendipity a client who can help the building grow into more of a destination.
The move marks a 21st century twist for the 907,000-square-foot building built in 1976 and originally occupied solely by IBM. The 20,000-square-foot lease also marks the latest large deal for the building. Last year, New York Life took 140,000 square feet on the top four levels of the 907,000-square-foot office tower. That deal was one of the largest in the county for 2017.
“There’s momentum in the building and certainly the access to shopping, dining and improvements nearby have enticed us to be there,” Arenas said.
Arenas had previously confirmed to the Business Journal that a White Plains space was in the works, but had not disclosed the location. The company is designing the space now and plans to start construction this winter, with a tentative opening planned for spring 2019.
Coworking has been a growing sector in Westchester County. Already offering coworking space in White Plains is Koi Creative Space, which offers membership to its offices on Mamaroneck Avenue. The mixed-use redevelopment of the White Plains Mall property is also expected to include about 27,000 square feet of coworking space, though developer Street-Works Development only recently received municipal approvals and is yet to start construction.
The redevelopment of the former PepsiCo building in Somers includes about 10,000 square feet of coworking office space. Other coworking facilities have opened in Irvington, Dobbs Ferry and Yonkers.
“We thought there was definitely room for Serendipity, which is an upscale workplace designed to inspire our members, but also provides an extension of the corporate work-space for our corporate members,” Arenas said. “We thought there is a lot of room for that in White Plains.”
Serendipity’s White Plains space will provide drop-in work space, as well as event space and meeting rooms. Amenities include wellness rooms, quiet rooms for private phone calls, tech support and a cafe.
Arenas said it is a misconception that Serendipity’s coworking space is utilized only by entrepreneurs and freelancers. About half of the company’s clients throughout the country are used by companies, he said; businesses small and large that can utilize workspace in a Serendipity lab over leasing smaller offices.
If a larger company has a team of 20 or so people, Arenas gave as an example, “it may make more sense for them to sign with us at one of our locations than to sign a traditional lease for 5,000 to 10,000 square feet.”
That means Serendipity competes not just with other coworking operators in the region, but also with office landlords trying to land tenants for small office suites.
To stand out, Arenas said the company highlights its flexibility. White Plains marks the second Westchester County location for Serendipity, which has 30 locations nationwide and reports another 125 under development. Along with locations in Rye and Stamford, the company has tristate locations in the Financial District of Manhattan and Ridgewood, New Jersey.
A membership at the White Plains location, Arenas said, allows access to the other tristate sites.
“We have a New York City-based client, for example, that has an agreement with us to allow their employees to use our suburban locations when they need to,” Arenas said. “That can allwo to avoid a commute or work close to home for work-life balance. So having an array of suburban locations really can serve a strategic purpose for companies, not just provide a cool place to work.”
Serendipity Labs has already listed rates on its website for the White Plains lab that range from $49 for a single workday visit to $2,100 a month for a private office for a group between 3 and 10.