How MakeOffices Became a Success

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MakeOffices provides coworking and office spaces for rent to the entrepreneurial community in Chicago, Philadelphia and the Washington, D.C., metro area.

The company targets businesses in the early stages of growth that need flexible and cost-effective real estate. “We understand what it is like to be a startup with a tight budget, or a passionate entrepreneur leading a small business with no interest in committing to a multi-year lease in a traditional corporate environment,” according to a company statement.

Growth has been steady since the company’s foundation in 2012, with 14 spaces now available under the MakeOffices brand. Nine are located in the Washington, D.C., area, three are in Chicago and two are in Philadelphia.

What does MakeOffices offer?

The MakeOffices spaces are all bright and airy, offering a mixture of private office and coworking space to members.

Each one is decked out with the usual coworking amenities, including fast wifi, coffee and beer, and 24/7 access. There’s also a selection of events to drive collaboration and business growth for its community of freelancers, startups and small businesses.

Some spaces offer additional services to their members. For example, the company recently announced a new “Maker Studio” membership at its space in the Wharf development in D.C. Here, podcasters get access to a recording studio, a producer’s desk, and a conference room on a monthly basis.

Flexibility lies at the core of MakeOffice’s business model. All companies pay monthly rates for use of the space. These fully transparent rates are tiered depending on your choice of space and members can change or cancel their membership at any time.

Prices vary according to your location. Private offices start at $500/month for one person, increasing to around $18,000/month for teams of 30 individuals. An open desk in its “bullpen area” starts at $300/month and day passes start at $35/day. You can also pay upwards of $75/month for a virtual office.

MakeOffices offers sizable spaces to members. For example, the company’s massive hub at 17th and Market in Philadelphia boasts close to 58,000 square feet – but spaces are usually closer to the 25,000-square-foot mark.

The majority of the company’s real estate is in the D.C. region. The latest offering in Glover Park, D.C., features 25,000 square feet of coworking space, 57 private offices, and 48 dedicated desks, for example.

MakeOffices is expanding in the D.C. region, with a new 40,000 square feet location planned to open in Foggy Bottom in mid-2019. The Foggy Bottom addition will bring the total amount of office space MakeOffices leases in the D.C. area to more than 340,000 square feet, according to a recent report in WTop.

This growth narrows the gap between MakeOffices and WeWork, which, according to the Washington Business Journal, currently leases 533,000 square feet in the District, making it the largest private commercial tenant in the area.

Due to open in 2019, another new MakeOffices space will open in the iconic Bourse building in Philadelphia, reportedly offering more than 33,000 square feet of flexible workspace. The Bourse building is currently undergoing a massive redevelopment under MRP Realty. The former food court on its ground floor is in the midst of being upgraded into what MRP is calling the Bourse Marketplace.

“MakeOffices at the Bourse will provide our Philadelphia members unrivaled access to the best food, beverage, and retail options in Philadelphia and will celebrate our coworking concept beyond the four walls of our space. We’re excited to be a part of this project and to augment our brand in Philadelphia,” Zach Wade, CEO of MakeOffices, announced on the company blog.

Changing times for MakeOffices

MakeOffices was originally known as Uber Offices, but rebranded in 2015 to make it clear that it wasn’t associated with a certain California-based ridesharing app. Having such a similar name was entirely coincidental, according to MakeOffices’ founder Raymond Rahbar.

MakeOffices is embroiled in a legal saga, according to a report in BisNow, as Raymond Rahbar claims investors have failed to make a settlement payment to the founder. A January settlement appeared to end a yearlong legal battle between the founder and MakeOffices and the investors who ousted him, but the saga is now reportedly continuing with a new dispute over that settlement.

Zach Wade became the company’s new CEO in 2017. Wade is a former real estate investor and developer for MRP Realty in the Mid-Atlantic region, Philadelphia and New York, and also served on the board of directors at MakeOffices.

Wade’s ambitious plans for the company are summed up in a statement he made shortly after his appointment: “MakeOffices is at the beginning of its growth journey and I see the company doubling in size in the next couple of years.”

“The past three years have been a sort of ‘test kitchen’ for us with different office vibes, and we’ve learned a lot about what our members want and need. Those learnings will shape our expansion and take our member experience to the next level in the years to come,” he added.

MakeOffices is also expanding its technical portfolio. It recently announced a partnership with citylink.ai to integrate its Concept Foundry collaboration platform into its coworking spaces, enabling them to interconnect and extend their reach into other districts.

Through the citylink.ai partnership, “MakeOffices will be able to connect local business, government and enterprise with the latest collaboration, marketing, and AI technology to develop and grow our members’ businesses of all sizes,” according to the company website.

MakeOffices is certainly one to watch in its core regions of Chicago, Philadelphia, and metro Washington DC. Its growth looks set to continue as it embraces more locations and integrates technical innovation to help members grow their businesses.



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