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More Co-Everything Is Coming To Miami

A Miami developer is gearing up to deliver co-living and coworking — with a side of wellness — all around the world.

Rishi Kapoor's Location Ventures is launching Urbin, one of several new co-everything ventures springing up in Miami, the city that reportedly has the most coworking in America, making up 3% of its office space. 

A rendering of Villa Valencia by Location Ventures

Kapoor grew up in Atlanta, where his dad invested in commercial real estate. Following law school at the University of Miami, the younger Kapoor decided to stick around and extend the family business southward.

His Location Ventures now has four divisions: high-end single-family homes, boutique condos (like the currently underway 39-unit Villa Valencia in Coral Gables), multifamily renovations (like a student housing project in Coconut Grove) and Urbin. While the other divisions have been Florida-focused, Kapoor has international ambitions for Urbin. 

Location Ventures is jumping into an increasingly crowded sector, joining already-entrenched coworking spaces like WeWork, Industrious, Buro and MADE at the Citadel. IWG's Spaces opened at Miami Central Station in February. The company is planning four more locations in the coming year.  

Spaces plans to open outposts of varying sizes in Wynwood (24K SF), Lincoln Road (51K SF), Brickell Avenue (54K SF) and Coconut Grove (41K SF), Vice President of Network Development Michael Berretta said.

"South Florida is one of those markets — an area where many established companies are setting up Latin American hubs and startup activity is exploding in a variety of sectors," Berretta said.

In the co-living arena, upscale Ollie expects to occupy about 400 beds in one of three buildings at Gables Station, a mixed-use project expected to open in July 2020 that connects to the Metrorail and the Underline Park.

In January, Miami was announced as a target city for Quarters, a branch of the largest co-living provider in Europe, which is putting $300M into a U.S. expansion.

“We’re excited to expand in Miami and are currently considering several sites in the Miami area – both ground up builds and conversions," Quarters founder and CEO Gunther Schmidt told Bisnow in a statement. "Areas of interest for Quarters include Wynwood, Brickell, Lincoln Road and South Beach. As a global city with an established arts scene and fast-emerging startup culture, Miami is a brand fit for Quarters and remains a top target market for us.”

"It's very much the Wild West," Kapoor said of coworking and co-living right now. "Much respect to WeWork and the scale they have achieved."

While WeWork racked up close to $2B in losses last year, "our business plan is designed to be profitable per location, and we own our real estate," Kapoor said. "We're not in a situation competing with a landlord in our space."

"We have our first two sites in Coral Gables and Coconut Grove," he added. "We plan to open 100 locations internationally over the next 10 years."

Location Ventures founder and CEO Rishi Kapoor

In July 2018, the company paid $12.5M for the 53K SF office building at 299 Alhambra Circle in Coral Gables, which will be renovated to make space for 600 desks, a top floor with corporate suites, and food and retail on the ground floor. The project is set for completion in 2021.

In October, Urbin, along with Terra and Banyan Street Capital, bought a four-story commercial building at 3138 Commodore Plaza for $7.2M. Its 33K SF will be transformed into coworking along with ground-floor food and retail. Completion is slated for 2022.

Kapoor said Urbin would differentiate itself by providing better service than WeWork, catering to a different demographic, and including a social mission and sustainability.

"It's not something I'm ready to get into, but we've got a special sauce there," he said.

Desks will start at $350 per month. Kapoor said that at his family's office building in Atlanta, they offer coworking on two floors, and have been able to get higher rents on them than on traditional floors.

"During the recession, we didn't fall below 80% occupancy," he said. "In a hot market, people go to coworking because they can't afford [traditional space], and in a down market, they go because they are looking to survive and hang on."

He expects to launch 10 sites per year and eventually use economies of scale, managing everything with a "lean and mean core team."

Ultimately, Kapoor said Urbin will have three divisions: its main one for coworking, co-living and wellness; Urbin Campus for student housing; and Urbin Retreat, a transient hotel/long-term stay concept that will offer memberships allowing people to move between properties. He hopes to raise $150M for the expansion.

Members will be able to sign up for the coworking, co-living or wellness services à la carte or choose a package. On the co-living side, furnished units would start at $1K per month. Amenities across the platform would include a gym, a spa, storage and communal areas. Add-ons may include meal service, housekeeping and personal training.