LiquidSpace’s Newest Service Reinvents Office Design
LiquidSpace’s latest innovation could change the future of tenant improvements.
LiquidSpace, a platform for leasing out flex space, expanded its platform today to include flexible workplace designs for companies with 10 to 200 employees. The altSpace program allows tenants to curate a new office (such as above) with LiquidSpace-approved landlords and partner spaces.
The program is now available in major U.S. markets, including the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, and Washington, DC. LiquidSpace has offered this service as a pilot program in San Francisco during the past 12 months.
Tenants can select a location and choose from three options designed by BVN Architecture for space ranging from 1k SF to 20k SF. They can book the space online and move in within days without a lease. Corporate tailored designs also are available for companies wanting a more branded office experience. Each altSpace design kit is modular, utilitarian and adaptable and features contemporary furnishings from Allsteel.
“We reimagined what office spaces can be for growing teams because we weren’t satisfied with the status quo,” LiquidSpace CEO Mark Gilbreath said. “We recognized that growing companies often don’t have the time or the capital to commit to expensive fit-outs or long-term leases, but still want a cool place to work with the flexibility to move on when they grow.”
The program spun out of a need and demand from landlords to use LiquidSpace to rent vacant space with flexible terms, Gilbreath said. Often that space is unfurnished. He said to build out a space for each tenant wastes a lot of money and is environmentally costly and inefficient.
“We wanted to come up with a system and approach that was significantly more efficient from a cost and material concept from the landlord and tenant,” Gilbreath said. “We set out with the desire to make the altSpace solution to deploy faster than traditional tenant improvements at a lower cost for all parties.”
The SpecZero TI standard from altSpace minimizes construction costs, permitting and build time and helps landlords eliminate waste associated with build-outs. One of LiquidSpace's recent enterprise clients told Gilbreath the altSpace solution reduced its cost per employee by 40% compared to the service office it used previously. The client also estimated using altSpace versus a full build-out was about 50% less expensive per employee.
Part of the ease to these designs is the simplified furniture available.
Jan Johnson, Allsteel's vice president of design and workplace solutions, said the altSpace program gives her company more visibility and allows the furniture designer to work more closely with consumers. The furniture designer learned what companies need beyond primary surfaces and desks, what spaces make sense for team meetings versus structured group sessions, and how to adapt furniture to best meet these various needs.
“One of the challenges in any sort of workplace change is how do you help people understand and introduce them to new places of working. [This program] is a way for us to bring [a company] along and suggest the next step to take,” she said.
Interconnected systems furniture was popular decades ago, but freestanding and independent components are popular today. Johnson said these latest designs, many of which are incorporated into the altSpace choices, are simpler and adaptable.
Less space is being allocated for individuals. Previously, 80% of a office was dedicated to cubicles with 20% left for meeting spaces, according to Johnson. That ratio has shifted with more individuals collaborating in shared spaces with spaces set aside for workers who need to get away from a team to think.
Given the flexibility of design and space, the program has had positive feedback from tech firms and landlords.
CBRE vice chairman Dan Harvey said one of the struggles for fast-growing enterprise global companies is traditional office service models become inadequate when headcount rises and when the company wants to build its brand and office culture. Companies also develop a need for security and IT that go beyond what a typical service office can provide.
“Our corporate clients are increasingly looking for flexibility in their real estate portfolios. The cost efficiencies, term flexibility, rapid time to market and great design that altSpace offers are an exciting and unique option for us to present,” Harvey said.
The program has been well-received by young, scaling tech companies, especially since it is easy to deploy and offers three different price points, according to Harvey. This program has already helped bring a well-known tech company into Dallas.
“Salesforce wasn’t ready to commit to a long-term lease and plant firmly in Dallas, [but it will] test the market through the altSpace program,” Cook said. “It’s great for us to get them in the building."
Salesforce is expected to occupy its Dallas office within the next three weeks. Cook said he plans on working with LiquidSpace in the future.
“We believe tenants are approaching their real estate needs a lot differently and the flexibility LiquidSpace provides is significant,” Cook said. “It allows us to obtain tenancy. Sometimes it’s an incubation tenancy where we otherwise wouldn’t get the deal … It allows us to get them in and sell them on our building.”