After attending the soft launch opening of Alley last year – Powered by Verizon in Washington, D.C., we wanted to learn more about the concept behind this new corporate workspace venture.
Corporate real estate managers are often faced with the challenges of maximizing the value of their real estate needs to ensure their portfolios align in ways that do not hurt the bottom line. Real estate is one of the most significant expenditures in any business. As companies become more focused on the benefits and importance of workplace design, they encounter challenges to ensure that their workspace supports their business in a way that promotes employee engagement and productivity. At an executive level, there is also increasing awareness of how workspace can be a crucial factor in recruiting and retaining talent. A common theme in our ongoing CEOs Talk Workplace series, we brought up this subject in our conversation with the Verizon team whose developing new spaces. Our discussion centered around the “why?” and “how?” they embarked on this undertaking.
With a portfolio of over 110 million SF, the evolution of design, and footprint of their telecommunications equipment, Verizon’s real estate managers saw an increasing balance of underutilized space. As much of their portfolio is owned or tied to long leases, this presented some severe challenges to business operations and the economically viable situation. Stepping up to meet these challenges, Verizon conducted an internal brainstorming session and engaged research and strategy consultants at PLASTARC, to evaluate how to best optimize their physical space to meet current and future business requirements.
At CoreNet’s Global Summit in 2014, PLASTARC’s Melissa Marsh and co-presenter, WeWork Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Miguel McKelvey, described the emerging co-working movement as a disruptive innovation. Their presentation focused on the cultural implications of co-working space. The evolution of co-working as a viable business model has pushed WeWork to become a billion-dollar company with a major global footprint. This success has also fostered the development of next generation communal workspaces to better meet specific needs for both individual workers, small businesses, and specifically targeted audiences (i.e. makers, lawyers, tech startups). How we got from point A to point B in a relatively short time frame parallels the rapid changes we experience with modern technology (how many iPhones have you had?).