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Durst Partners With Serendipity Labs To Offer Suburban Coworking For All Its NYC Office Tenants

205 East 42nd St.

A Westchester County-based flexible office provider has struck a deal with The Durst Organization to allow all of the tenants of the New York real estate dynasty's 13M SF office empire to use its extensive network of flex space in the suburbs.

Serendipity Labs has also agreed to operate a new 41K SF location at 205 East 42nd St. in a 10-year management deal, Bisnow can first report. The location will span the building's three top floors and will offer private event space with access to a rooftop, two work-lounge cafés and offices accommodating up to 100 people.

The idea is to provide space to individuals and companies that have downsized real estate commitments and need support in rolling out hybrid workplace arrangements, according to Serendipity Labs CEO John Arenas. 

Arenas said this location, known as Serendipity Labs Grand Central, with its proximity to suburban transit, is a key addition to the firm's offerings.

“I toured this building 10 years ago and lost to another operator. … Being at Grand Central has always been a goal,” he said in an interview. “We may have another Midtown location, maybe one by Penn Plaza, Penn Station, and we'll continue to fill out northern New Jersey, Connecticut and Long Island.”

Two Westport-based companies have already taken space at the new East 42nd Street location, electing to set up a city location to support their Connecticut headquarters, Arenas said.

Serendipity Labs Grand Central is the provider's seventh Tri-State location. It also operates flex office spaces in the Financial District, Ridgewood, White Plains, Rye, Stamford and Westport. It has more than 35 locations globally, all of which Durst's tenants now have access to.

Durst President Jody Durst said in a statement that particular offering will act as an extension of New York City offices for various firms and “support efforts to attract and retain top talent.”

Arenas said giving Durst tenants access to the web of coworking facilities will also mean that Durst will be able to follow building occupants' behavior and pass that information on to companies to help them shape workplace arrangements and policies.

“In other words, we will tell them, ‘Hey, you know, you had 30 people using Ridgewood ... or 100 people,’ or, ‘They’re not using it at all,’” he said. “[Durst can] share with their tenant and say, ‘This has value to you for being a Durst tenant in New York City because now you have all these other locations that your people can use.’”

Office owners are facing something of a reckoning, as office availability has grown in Manhattan by 69% since March 2020 to 91.25M SF. Workers are still only at their desks roughly half the time they were before the pandemic.

As a result, landlords are looking for ways to go above and beyond to encourage tenants to sign leases. Durst isn’t the first company to create something of a network for its tenants. Nuveen launched a partnership with Industrious last month, Bisnow first reported, to have the coworking firm running shared spaces — like lobbies, conference rooms and event areas — in all 64 of Nuveen’s office properties in 13 states and allowing all of its tenants to access amenities and programming across the portfolio.

“People are working their way back to their own personal level of comfort or trade-off with flexibility,” Arenas said. “So I do think that this will become a standard part of the workplace continuum. Work is not just the office or the home; it's the choice you make along the way.”