Coworking took a massive hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many have shuttered or pivoted to stay afloat. For Dallas-based Common Desk, it has been the latter: the flexible office and amenities provider has taken the stay-at-home order in stride, declaring it as the start of something new.
This week, Common Desk announced its latest move, a first-of-its-kind deal that actually makes the coworking brand an operating partner for an office building. This means that a landlord partner will use Common Desk’s design, real estate, marketing, and operations experts to help program the entire asset for the “future of office.”
To founder and CEO Nick Clark, it’s an opportunity to further establish his company as an advocate for the next era of office offerings. Common Desk will work to reposition the historic Continental Gin Building in Deep Ellum into a Class A creative office building with a retail component.
It’s not a new feat for the team, which has been a pioneer in the space since its founding.
Common Desk is most often referred to as one of the earliest coworking brands to open in Texas, launching out of Deep Ellum back in 2012.
Since, Clark has grown the coworking concept to serve thousands in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and North Carolina—while at the same time expanding a workday portfolio that includes wellness, technology, and a coffee outlet.
The latest endeavor will further boost Common Desk’s reputation as a building amenity turned operating partner.
Now, the company said, it will be apparent that its team has the ability to envision, design and operate buildings that will appeal to the office tenants of tomorrow.
“We’re incredibly excited to play a bigger role in the Deep Ellum neighborhood as an industry innovator,” Clark said in a statement. “It’s truly going to be a holistic offering the market has yet to see.”
Common Desk was chosen by August Real Estate Co. to serve as an operating partner for the Continental Gin Building (CGB), which was originally built in 1888. After two years of securing approval and finalizing designs, August Real Estate Co. began restoration efforts of the building in mid-2019.
The goal, according to the Dallas-based family office, was to “reimagine a 19th century monument of Deep Ellum for 21st century use.” Once complete in early 2021, CGB is predicted to be a creative Deep Ellum office, coworking, and retail destination.
And, the partnership with Common Desk aims to achieve that.
From design and furnishing to leasing support and property management, Common Desk will play a role in nearly every aspect of the building’s future.
The Continental Gin Building will reopen with more than 17,000 square feet of office and retail space on the first floor. Common Desk’s own coffee brand, Fiction Coffee, will be located in the lobby.
On the second floor will sit Common Desk, Continental Gin, a 22,000-square-foot coworking location with small to midsize private offices, team suites, lounge areas, private phone booths, and amenities. Offerings include a VR lab, unlimited conference room usage, on-demand coffee and cocktail delivery, and free parking.
One floor up will be a 22,000-square-foot space for fully-furnished spec suites. According to August Real Estate Co, they have been priced to favor other Class A spec suites in Deep Ellum and the surrounding areas.
Throughout the coworking space and spec suites, Common Desk will provide hospitality services, and for the entire asset, will provide property management services. Its design team is procuring and selecting all furniture, fixtures, and equipment for all three floors.
“Together, we’re delivering our shared vision of a modern, energetic, creative office environment with current technology and a curated selection of amenities including a flagship location for their Fiction Coffee brand,” Evan August, a principal at August Real Estate Co, said of Common Desk. “This project will enable them to showcase every facet of their expertise.”
According to August, who co-founded the firm with his brother, Jordan, Common Desk was the right choice based on its Deep Ellum roots and growing success throughout Dallas-Fort Worth.
The partnership represents that coworking companies must do more than just provide a space—like Common Desk says, they should be seen as a “partner for the activation of an entire property” to create “an elevated hospitality experience.”
“Unlike the new ground up office projects in Deep Ellum, The Continental Gin Building has a rich history in the neighborhood,” Clark said. “We’re excited to respect that history with the new artistic / boutique design, hospitality offering, and unique aspects that’ve always set the building apart.”
Common Desk is now pre-leasing retail, restaurant, coworking, and office space across all three floors of the Continental Gin Building.
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