Q&A: Workplace, Meeting Space Concept ƎDEN Gives Landlords Possible Solution to Post-Pandemic Office Conundrum
In the past year, COVID-19 has impacted how and where people work, and the future of the U.S. office workplace is a major unknown. Landlords are grappling with how to maximize their physical work spaces as many employees continue to work from home full-time or at least a few days per week.
This shift is leading some business owners to look for alternative forms of workplaces. ƎDEN, a flexible workplace and meeting space provider, allows for users to rent out space to fulfill their everyday working needs, including in-person meetings.
ƎDEN users can download the brand’s app and then reserve an array of workplaces: work lounges, private offices and conference rooms, among other offerings. Standard rates for renting out the spaces starts at $99 a month per person, according to the firm’s website.
ƎDEN currently operates from several different markets, but most locations are concentrated in the New York area. These include a location in Queens at Parker Towers and another in Brooklyn at Box Factory. The firm also has a location in Northern Virginia at Tysons Corner and three upcoming locations in Detroit.
Brandon Singer, CEO of MONA and ƎDEN’s commercial real estate advisor and broker, says ƎDEN utilizes a method called “third space,” which serves a need for businesses and people in the market.
“Coming out of the pandemic, there will be no better way for people who want a place to go to shower, do yoga and work,” says Singer. “ƎDEN is trying to solve for a problem a lot of landlords have, and the concept can easily translate to retail, office or residential properties.”
Shopping Center Business, sister publication to REBusinessOnline, recently sat down with Ben Silver, founder and CEO for ƎDEN, to discuss the creation of the company and the goals behind the office, meeting and lounge spaces concept. What follows is an edited interview:
Shopping Center Business: Tell me about the creation of ƎDEN, the concept in general and its growth since inception.
Ben Silver: ƎDEN was founded in 2017 to address the inefficiencies within physical spaces and experiences for consumers and to reimagine the third space concept previously pioneered by Starbucks. To date we currently have nine operational locations and partnerships with various major landlords and hotels.
ƎDEN’s vision is to create a global network of technology powered “third places” offering membership and pay-as-you-use access to amenity spaces designed for work and escape. Spaces include work, lounge and meeting areas, and, in some locations, shower or sleep options. Pioneering a new concept of “hospitalitech,” ƎDEN’s platform enables touchless check-in and check-out and amenity reservations, as well as data about real-time occupancy.
ƎDEN operates across a variety of spaces, from managed lounges to partnerships with hotel operators to human-less automated outposts in residential, retail and commercial locations.
SCB: Do you expect demand to grow post-pandemic for ƎDEN’s offerings?
Silver: Absolutely. We believe that the shift to work from home will have some permanence, with many companies opting for a hybrid solution where employees work at home some days of the week and are then in the office other days. This means that a large proportion of the workforce will need somewhere to go other than their homes when they aren’t in the office.
Though players have emerged offering aggregation of available space in coffee shops and restaurants, we believe in the hub-and-spoke model that companies of all sizes are leaning into.
SCB: What sets ƎDEN apart from other tech network space providers?
Silver: Our goal is to provide one cohesive brand and one cohesive experience. We believe in network ubiquity and want to be wherever you are; at home, on the move or in the office.
We also provide a variety of options that aren’t just focused on an eight-hour workdays in a “coworking” location, but rather a stable of amenities and locations that provide people with the ability to work, chill out or even freshen up, when they’re caught in between point A and point B.
SCB: Tell me a bit about the look and feel of your locations. What size are they? What is the design aesthetic?
Silver: Our model is designed for flexibility. Our technology has led the way with regards to the experience and that is now permeating in real life into our locations: touchless entry, simple signage and wayfinding, alerts and messages when amenities are available and reminders to keep or cancel reservations. This allows us to flex into large and small spaces quickly and efficiently.
SCB: What type of space are you looking for when opening a new ƎDEN?
Silver: We have great flexibility when it comes to types of locations. Whether it’s ground-floor retail, residential amenity spaces or office buildings, every space provides an opportunity to add value to both the landlord and consumer.
Every micro community is different, and some buildings are communities in and of themselves. Some blocks serve as main corridors and thoroughfares from the city to the suburbs. Our model alleviates the need to rely solely on subscriptions to generate revenue and gives consumers greater flexibility whether they live near a ƎDEN or are just passing through.
SCB: Are you planning to expand your footprint? If so, please detail your plans.
Silver: Yes, we plan to expand rapidly in 2021 by adding an additional 50 locations. Our primary focus remains in New York City, but we are having many conversations to rapidly expand our network into other markets, and beyond city borders. We want to continue to fulfill that hub-and-spoke model we believe will be the future of working, and just needing a place to go, well into the future.