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Coworking trend seen as harbinger of change by CRE experts

6/8/2016 | Real Estate Blog

Commercial real estate developers in Pennsylvania and around the country are likely paying close attention to the explosive growth currently being enjoyed by companies in the office sharing and coworking segments. The New York-based workspace sharing company WeWork has gone from startup to a valuation of more than $16 billion in just six years, and many industry analysts are predicting that this is just the start of a paradigm shift for the commercial real estate sector.

The days of major tenants renting office space for decades on end appear to be drawing to a close, and more and more commercial real estate developers are loading their office buildings with amenities that would once have been thought needlessly extravagant in order to attract customers who are signing shorter and shorter leases. Modern businesses are also being increasingly lured by mixed use buildings easily accessed by public transportation.

Savvy developers across the country are cashing in on this trend by designing buildings that appeal to legacy tenants and freelance workers alike. These efforts often encourage a more casual atmosphere by eschewing austere lobbies and comprehensive security procedures in favor of communal spaces, and developers have sometimes been surprised to learn that even Fortune 500 companies may favor a less formal approach.

It can take several years for a commercial real estate project to move from the planning stages to completion, and developers who fail to account for market changes may find themselves providing solutions that are no longer attractive. Experienced real estate attorneys will likely understand the need to keep projects moving and the importance of avoiding unnecessary delays, and they can often recommend proactive strategies that are designed to avoid many of the common issues faced by developers.