Anticipating increased demand for flexible office spaces in suburban markets, Bridge Commercial Real Estate, the commercial brokerage subsidiary of Bridge Investment Group, has launched Abridge, a flex office program starting in five high-growth U.S. markets that expects to deliver about 1 million square feet of inventory across Bridge’s national office portfolio.
The first phase will start with a total of 158,000 square feet of Class A office space in six properties in five markets—Atlanta; Miami; Minneapolis; Irving, Texas; and Reston, Va. Space is now being marketed with move-ins beginning in June at: 1277 Lenox Park and The Dupree in Atlanta; Flagler Station in Miami; Makers Point in Reston; Tower 1320 in Irving and West End Office Park in Minneapolis.
Jeff Shaw, CEO of Bridge Commercial Real Estate, told Commercial Property Executive that Bridge is “currently determining future locations and square footage for Phase 2, with the goal for rollout to begin shortly after the completion of Phase 1.”
Shaw said in a prepared statement Abridge was a direct response to tenant demand for flexible office spaces in prime, suburban, high-growth markets as companies look to rebalance their real estate portfolios after the pandemic subsides.
Quick move-ins, enviable amenities
He said Abridge will allow organizations to have another option that can be tailored to meet evolving employees’ desires along with quick move-ins, traditional leases and market-leading amenities. Shaw added the flexible office option will enable companies to promote recruiting and retention, while dealing with fluctuating or unpredictable headcount projections.
He told CPE Bridge has been preparing for the rise of an enterprise flex office model for years, particularly in the secondary suburban office markets, where there has been increasing demand but low inventory.
“Now the formal launch of Abridge arrives at a time when secondary suburban office markets are continuing to gain momentum in occupier demand and strong fundamentals, and companies are seeking turn-key solutions with more convenience, amenities and flexibility without sacrificing the independence or quality of their own office culture and workspace,” Shaw said.
Tenants will partner directly with Abridge for their spaces. Private suites will accommodate from 12 to 246 desks depending on the location. In addition to access to a building’s current amenities, Abridge will also include high-speed internet and robust security options, cleaning and design services. Tenants will be offered customizable furniture packages, layout options, branding opportunities and an end-to-end technology solution that all help companies move in within 30 days of signing a lease.
Kevin Lott, managing director of national leasing at Bridge Commercial Real Estate, said in prepared remarks they believe Abridge will provide meaningful solutions for businesses by creating a bridge that allows employees to work better in a flexible office space. He said it would allow organizations to remain agile and be positioned for success in a post-COVID-19 office market.
Flex market growing
A report by Colliers International expects the overall demand for flexible office space to double or triple over the next five years, and also cited surging demand for flex space in secondary suburban markets.
In December, CBRE’s annual flex office report noted that fears the COVID-19 crisis might cripple the flex office sector appear to be unfounded. The report stated flexible office space will ultimately become an integral part of office buildings and a sought-after solution once the pandemic ends. When surveyed by CBRE in September, 86 percent of occupiers said flexible office space would play some role in their long-term commercial real estate strategies, compared to 73 percent in June.
In February, CBRE ramped up its own presence in the flexible office market by taking a 35 percent stake in Industrious, investing more than $200 million in the growing workspace provider. The global brokerage was expected to boost its stake to at least 40 percent. The deal made CBRE, which will merge its own flexible office platform Hana into Industrious, the platform’s largest shareholder.
Industrious grew during the pandemic, with the company opening or signing 15 locations around the U.S. since March of 2020, including five in New York City. The company plans to expand by 1 million square feet this year.