Last month we interviewed Jonathan Weinbrenn, Head of Global Corporate Services at Search Office Space, about completing the biggest serviced office deal of 2014, the renewal of Groupon in just under 50,000 sq ft of managed space as well as the general state of the flexible office market…
He’s been busy since then creating even more buzz in the sector and just finalised an even larger serviced office deal for a NASDAQ listed global technology company, so we thought it’s time to catch up again!
Can you tell us a little about this latest deal?
This project was particularly exciting and challenging as the client needed to relocate their London team of over 220 staff within a three week timeframe. Responding to such tight turnaround adds another level of stress and adds significantly to the workload (anyone who knows me will understand I already operate in a heightened state of anxiety!). The occupation date is crucial but it’s so important not to let this sidestep critical pieces of the puzzle. All of the negotiations, due diligence, space planning, IT infrastructure and general logistics can’t be compromised so it’s really key that the various parties all work together on this and the process needs careful management and oversight.
How does this transaction differ from the previous projects we talked to you about last month?
When we spoke last, I was highlighting that serviced and managed space can satisfy much larger and longer term requirements than the market generally perceives. I had just completed over 11,500 sq ft of serviced space for a TMT client, for a term of 4 years. I constantly hear clients, agents and landlords say that the serviced model is only for small, shorter term requirements. The perception is that it becomes too expensive when you exceed a certain headcount or term but if the deal is structured correctly the total occupancy costs can be extremely competitive over traditional leasing methods, whilst providing the occupier with much greater flexibility and control over their costs, as well as transferring risk.
In this case though (the NASDAQ listed co.) the requirement was driven by the need for temporary swing space, while they look for a longer term lease and in this sense its more ‘conventionally’ suited to a flexible, managed solution.
Is this is a sign of the market getting stronger?
I’m definitely seeing more confidence in the market and this is translated in the exciting work our clients are taking on. We are working alongside them to provide innovative workplace solutions around the globe whether they are acquiring new businesses, opening in new markets or exploring more flexible strategies, including the use of Third Place environments and the use of structured, Enterprise, global meeting rooms.
On this point, I’m delighted to welcome the latest recruit to the Corporate Dpt, David Garson. David has a wealth of experience including twelve years with Merrill Lynch and he will be a significant asset and addition to the team.
Also, this month, after significant research and development we are launching meeting rooms.com This an exciting development as it allows users to view, book and pay for meeting rooms across the globe in real time in the same way you would book a holiday through Expedia or a taxi via Uber. I am leading a workshop at the Google Campus on June 27th discussing the potential impact of meetingrooms.com.
About Jonathan Weinbrenn
Jonathan is a leading figure in the global flexible office market, transacting some of the most challenging and complex briefs.
He is an advocate of serviced, managed and 3rd Place solutions and speaks regularly about the sector, most recently addressing the EG Offices Summit and the FMP Event, both in London. Jonathan is the Head of Global Corporate Services at Search Office Space (SOS). Find out more about Jonathan here.
About Search Office Space’s Corporate Service Department
Specifically geared to understand the needs of fast growing, dynamic global businesses and established corporations, SOS’s Corporate Department has been pioneering the evolution of the flexible office sector. We listen, collaborate and create bespoke and innovative solutions for our diverse range of clients.
Clients we work with include Apple, Microsoft, Groupon, Standard Life, Reed Elsevier and Balfour Beatty.
To find out more about SOS’s Corporate Solutions, click here.