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CBRE Takes On WeWork And Company With New Flexible Office Business

CBRE's Masonic Temple office in Glendale, Calif.

CBRE has launched a new flexible office business that will look to compete with existing giants like WeWork and IWG for office tenants.

The new business, called Hana, will not lease space directly, but will work with property owners and will design, build and operate flexible office space for them. It will make money through revenue and profit-sharing agreements with landlords.

Hana will have its own chief executive, Andrew Kupiec, who CBRE hired from Zipcar in 2017. Scott Marshall, who previously led CBRE’s investor leasing service line in the Americas, will be its president and chief development officer.

Hana means work in Hawaiian, happiness in Arabic and flower in Japanese. The business will be a wholly owned subsidiary of CBRE and be a third investment division, alongside CBRE Global Investors and Trammell Crow. CBRE is the first major brokerage to move into operating flexible offices rather than just leasing them out for clients.

Hana will focus on individual private offices rather than coworking, and target larger corporate tenants looking for leases of one to three years, Kupiec told the Financial Times. This part of the offering will be called Hana Team.

Each Hana facility will also feature two other offerings, Hana Meet and Hana Share, CBRE said. Hana Meet provides conference room and event space that can be rented on an hourly, daily or weekly basis. Hana Share provides traditional coworking space in which users share services, amenities and technology in a communal setting.

“The way space is being used is evolving rapidly, companies want the flexibility to adjust their occupancy to meet changing business needs and a better workplace experience to attract and retain top talent,” CBRE President and CEO Bob Sulentic said. “We have already generated significant interest from building owners who are looking for a trusted partner to help deliver flexible space offerings, and have a robust deal pipeline.”

CBRE is betting that its existing network of relationships with building owners through its brokerage and property management divisions — and its ownership of Trammell Crow — will give it an advantage over rivals in the increasingly crowded flexible office space.

“Owners are looking to share in the upside of this growing flexible space market, and they are also looking for more control,” Kupiec told the FT. “They want to understand and have transparency on who the tenants and users of their space are. With most providers out there today, it’s really a black box.”

Related Topics: CBRE, WeWork, IWG, Flexible offices, Hana