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Baby Boomers Are Coming For Your Co-Working Desk

Slide over, millennials, and get ready to share that avocado toast. 

Giralda Place takes up a city block and includes 33 luxury condos and a WeWork location.

Baby boomers are moving out of their too-big single-family homes in the suburbs, and they want in on your trendy, urban, live-work-play destinations. That means they are coming for your co-working desks, too.

The thought of co-working might conjure up images of MacBook-toting young professionals, but “I think that's actually kind of silly,” said Christopher Brown, who is co-developing Giralda Place in Coral Gables, a complex that includes 100K SF of offices, 19K SF of retail and 33 luxury condominiums.

“In this this day and age with technology, everyone is trying to be more efficient and simplify things — not just millennials,” Brown said.

WeWork signed a lease for 34K SF at Giralda Place and is in the process of building out its space, with a tentative opening date of Dec. 1, Brown said. The location should accommodate 550 members, with private offices for one to 16 people, plus conference rooms, phone booths and more.

Christopher Brown said that co-working is a great solution for semiretired baby boomers.

Brown said co-working is a great solution for professionals who do not want to fully retire, but do not want the responsibility of leasing office space.

“It makes a lot of economic sense for small businesses, no matter what age they are,” Brown said. And if that co-working space is just an elevator ride from home, in a mixed-use building? “You don't even have to go outside.”

He recalled having friends in Greenwich, Connecticut, whose empty-nest parents moved to Manhattan, which seemed weird years ago. But it makes sense, since they had restaurants and hospitals in walking distance.

“Why not have a more convenient life — and more of a fun one — in your 60s?” Brown said.

A Merrill Lynch survey last year found that three out of four baby boomers would consider downsizing their homes to lower costs and benefit from the equity. A Freddie Mac study found that boomers are actually pushing millennials out of the housing market.

Brown said Giralda Place was initially planned to have 44 residential units, but that number was sliced in order to offer fewer, but bigger, condos that appeal to baby boomers wanting a house-like feel. They no longer care to deal with maintenance of large properties.

“I have an eight-room house and I only use two rooms,” Brown said one client told him.

Units at Giralda Place have 11-foot ceilings. Floor plans are 2K to 3K SF with prices at $660 per SF, so starting around $1M. There is also a ninth-floor penthouse. Brown is expecting to receive a certificate of occupancy in the first quarter.

Downstairs, corporate bank HSBC opened last week, and Seaside Bank occupies another retail space. Brown recalled the story of another client.

“One guy is head of a bank. He said, 'I'm building a beach house [outside of Miami, so for the time I have to spend in the city], I want to live close to my office,'" Brown said. "I said, 'You're going to have to get a desk at WeWork or move your bank into our space.'”

He said the client is leaning toward leasing an office.