EXCLUSIVE: New Co-Working Space Takes On Healthcare In The Financial District
When Vicrum and Rachel Puri founded BrooklynWorks in 2012, co-working was a relatively new concept with an unproven future. Now that it has become a widespread and influential part of office real estate, the Puris are again trying to innovate.
Bisnow has learned exclusively that the couple plans to open WellnessWorks at Trinity Centre, a co-working space designed solely for healthcare practitioners, at 115 Broadway in October.
The concept will occupy 15K SF on the 18th floor of the Capital Properties-owned building, with a combination of therapy rooms for mental health professionals and “body work” rooms for chiropractors, acupuncturists and the like.
BrooklynWorks was born because Vic wanted an alternative to working from home while living in Brooklyn and managing the couple’s D.C.-based construction firm Seed Homes. The idea stuck, but as WeWork and its competitors shot up around it, Vic and Rachel had no interest in trying to expand.
“We really saw BrooklynWorks as a community workspace, and we weren’t trying to grow it into a national co-working company,” Vic said. “We just wanted a place for the neighborhood, and that’s what it’s become.”
Though the construction industry was in Vic’s family growing up, Rachel is a registered nurse, and her experience with the challenges of small and new health practitioners she knew led the couple to apply what they had at BrooklynWorks to healthcare.
“Right now, there’s not really anything available for independent practitioners to help them launch their businesses,” Rachel said. “WeWork and BrooklynWorks can’t offer a space for a mental health professional to have privacy to work.”
WellnessWorks will have 50 soundproof rooms ranging from 80 to 500 SF, front desk staff and multiple modern waiting areas to give practitioners and their clients all the trappings of a Class-A medical office suite. Yet it is not a standard time-share, with a doctor lending extra office space during hours he or she is not using it.
Standard members will not have a dedicated office; practitioners sign up for space by the hour via an online portal. It would allow a doctor to see what space is available at WellnessWorks while on the phone setting an appointment with a patient. Starting memberships will be $199 per month for eight total hours or $399 per month for 20 total hours. The more-expensive Enterprise membership would provide a full-time room and expanded concierge services.
“When we were planning this, we equated it to ZipCar,” Rachel said. “You get on the app, see what’s available and book it seamlessly.”
A break room for members, as well as building amenities in Trinity Centre, which just signed WeWork to an 85K SF lease last week, will be meant to encourage interaction between practitioners, producing networking opportunities and even potential referrals for patients.
“We always talked about how segmented wellness practitioner populations are,” Vic said. “We wanted to make a space where practitioners who wouldn’t normally network together would have the platform to do so.”
The couple chose the Financial District due to its transit accessibility to Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as Staten Island and parts of New Jersey. Picking a trophy office building such as the Trinity Centre, with a high-end build-out to match, sets the market for what level of practitioner they hope to attract. Though there will be sinks, WellnessWorks will not have lab equipment or facilities for internal — yet.
Unlike with BrooklynWorks, Vic and Rachel Puri envision big things for WellnessWorks if it goes well.
“I’d say expansion plans are already in the works,” Vic said. “We plan to be in multiple locations, and we’ve already outfitted part of our BrooklynWorks location to be available as suites rentable in our [WellnessWorks online] portal.”
Much like co-working five years ago, WellnessWorks is a relatively untested concept, likely the first of its kind and scale in New York. But co-working is not going anywhere, and expanding its application to one of the fastest-growing industries in the country is not exactly a shot in the dark. If it succeeds, it could prove to be just as disruptive a force as any in commercial real estate.
WellnessWorks will accept members and launch its booking portal in September ahead of its October opening.
CORRECTION, AUG. 23, 6 P.M. ET: WellnessWorks provides Enterprise Memberships, which include dedicated space and additional concierge services for a higher fee. A previous version of this story did not include that service. This story has been updated.