News | Strategy: Restaurants are so desperate to make rent that they're turning into part-time coworking spaces — and department stores and shopping malls are next

Strategy: Restaurants are so desperate to make rent that they're turning into part-time coworking spaces — and department stores and shopping malls are next

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  • Empty stores, restaurants, and malls are being converted into part-time coworking spaces.
  • A slew of startups like Spacious and Industrious have popped up in order to establish new coworking spaces.
  • Some of these coworking space operations effectively provide existing stores with a side-hustle, while others have taken over vacated properties.


Telecommuters and their employers need reasonably-priced coworking spaces. Store and restaurant proprietors in expensive urban areas need to make rent. Mall owners need to find a way to contend with the retail apocalypse.

A host of startups like Spacious and Industrious have cropped up to meet those very needs. These businesses are going about converting empty or abandoned spaces into workplaces.

Vox recently reported that the New York City restaurant Crave has opted to partner with Spacious. The eatery will give up its lunch hours in order to host telecommuters before the evening dinner rush. Back in 2016, Business Insider reported on how the DBGB Kitchen and Bar was following a similar strategy in order to bolster its earnings.

Spacious currently has 15 locations in New York City. These spots are largely restaurants that only serve dinner. Transforming into a part-time coworking space is effectively a side-hustle for these businesses — a method of earning extra cash in order to survive in a high-rent city with a cutthroat restaurant scene.

But other coworking startups are taking things a step forward.

CNBC reported that the coworking startup Industrious is teaming up with large mall owners like Macerich to overhaul empty spaces in malls across the US. The business news network cited the example of a vacated Barney's at Arizona's Scottsdale Fashion Square, which was recently transformed into a coworking space. For businesses like Macerich, establishing coworking spaces might offer respite from the retail apocalypse.

Either way, the influx of coworking spaces should come as no surprise. Workforce management platform AllWork published a few telling stats regarding the approximately 14,400 coworking spaces around the globe. According to AllWork, the number of coworking spaces has exploded, with 200% growth in the past five years.

And, if restaurants and malls keep loaning out space to telecommuters, those numbers will only increase.

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By Kwame Ntow 10/10/2018 14:02:00