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A New Chapter: Blackstone-Owned Equity Office Rebrands And Brings In Coworking

Blackstone-owned EQ Office, a U.S. office portfolio company formerly named Equity Office, has undergone a major rebrand that includes plans to reposition several properties to improve the employee experience, as well as new partnerships with flex space operators to make more efficient use of its footprint.

A rendering of the Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles.

The 42-year-old company, which has more than $450B worth of assets under management in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston, inked a license agreement with coworking provider Industrious to bring collaborative workspaces to the Howard Hughes Center in West Los Angeles, with plans to expand into other locations down the line. Brooklyn-based Industrious, which raised $80M in February led by Riverwood Capital and Fifth Wall Ventures, will be in charge of managing 100K to 140K SF of flex office suites in the campus. 

EQ has broader plans to revamp the six-building, 1.4M SF Howard Hughes Center into a lifestyle hub with retail and office components and indoor and outdoor work environments. The campus, which will wrap up updates in February, will house roughly 150 businesses and is anticipated to bring 6,000 workers and visitors to the complex on a daily basis. Lifestyle amenities to be added to the campus include health-centric initiatives and programmed fitness options, a farmers market, dog-friendly elements and a conference and entertainment center. Industrious' office space will be a key component of the overhaul because it adds flexibility and collaboration.

"Our partnership with Industrious enables us to creatively deliver another office product in our market for those that seek space on more flexible terms with low customization,” EQ Managing Director of the Western Region Spencer Rose said in a statement

The Howard Hughes Center is a six-building, 1.4M SF campus in West Los Angeles.

Industrious CEO Jamie Hodari said the partnership will allow both Industrious and EQ to leverage EQ’s vast portfolio to increase employee engagement, happiness and productivity. 

“This is going to be a true campus environment where different personality types, work styles and industries can all come to thrive,” Hodari said. Industrious has 40 locations in 28 cities throughout the country.

EQ’s name change is intended to reflect the company’s evolution from a mere office owner to a customer-centric workplace provider, the Chicago-based company said in a release.  Plans to reposition the Howard Hughes Center in LA is one of several face-lifts the office owner has planned. The goal is to reposition select properties within its existing portfolio to better accommodate the work preferences of young professionals today through the use of technology, modern design and desired amenities.

"Technology has fueled a remarkable pace of change in how we work and live," EQ President and CEO Lisa Picard said in a statement. "In order to create effective venues for companies to work and live, we must have a highly curious and empathic culture — an emotional intelligence. Our new identity is a commitment to co-create spaces with our customers and help companies recruit the best talent through experiences that cultivate openness, foster humanity and generate potential.”

Private equity giant Blackstone acquired Equity Office Properties Trust in November 2006 in a transaction valued at $36B. The purchase price represented a 8.5% premium over EQ’s stock price at the time.