CHICAGO—As reported in GlobeSt.com last Friday, HarborGroup International, LLC has just signed New York-basedSerendipity Labs to open and manage a 30,000-square-foot co-working lounge andconference center on the mezzanine level and secondfloor of One South Wacker, its 40-story, 1.2-million-square-foottower in the West Loop. And John Arenas, chiefexecutive officer of Serendipity, now tells GlobeSt.com that hiscompany plans to put similar spaces in other class A officebuildings, residential buildings, hotels and other spaces. “Whatwe're building is a national network that our members can accesswherever they go.”

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Although co-working spaces have proliferated across the US, thisSerendipity facility “is an important first for Chicago,” Arenasadds. One South Wacker is the first class A Chicago office buildingto incorporate a full-service shared workspace and conferencecenter for its tenants and the public. Tenants know that today'semployees want, and increasingly expect, a variety of work optionsaway from the traditional office desk, and Serendipity can providethat.

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“It is an extension of your own space,” Arenas says. Officeusers can host a conference with up to 100 people, or employees canmove down there for a day or more if they need to get away fromtheir own office. The facility, which will open on October 15, alsohas private offices, workstations, studios and meet-up rooms.“Having that in the building can be a real asset. The meta trend isthat companies of all sizes are changing, and instead of one deskper person, most also want to have an adjunct space.” And forlandlords, “this is an amenity that your tenants are going towant.”

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Workers in One South Wacker will have access to the workinglounge on the mezzanine level, near the building's new fitnesscenter, one of the other amenities that Harbor has added to makethe property more attractive. Serendipity members will also haveaccess to the second floor, a more traditional co-working space.Although prices vary, a typical member might pay $199 for a monthlypass, which allows five visits over the month, or purchase aday-pass for $49. Other memberships can cost $1000 for a dedicatedspace, or even more for a more complete office.

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“We have a partnership with Harbor on the mezzanine floor,”Arenas explains, in which they share revenue since that is also anamenity for the building, but for the second floor spaceSerendipity and Harbor have a more traditional landlord/tenantrelationship.

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What makes the Serendipity deal particularly valuable for Harboris that Hospitality Ventures Management Group, ahotel management and development firm that runs 42 hotels acrossthe country, will handle day-to day operations, even providing aconcierge. “To have a world-class operator generating revenue onthe mezzanine while at the same time providing tenants with anamenity is a triple-win,” Arenas says. Users “can expect a certainprofessional acumen that they may not have encountered in otherco-working spaces. This is co-working for grown-ups.”

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.