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High-End Coworking Spaces Are the New Must-Have Residential Amenity

Builders are adding more private offices and conference rooms to upscale developments to woo residents

Conference room at The Set, New York City / Photo: Courtesy of MAWD and Related Companies/Angela Hau

A newly completed 44-story tower in New York’s Hudson Yards includes all the modern amenities befitting a luxury Manhattan rental property. Residences in the new development, called The Set, feature soaring nine-foot ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking city views. The furnished or unfurnished turnkey apartments include an array of designer furniture as well as artworks curated by a local contemporary art gallery. A residents-only social club rising 500 feet in the air at the top of the sleek building is equipped with a private restaurant and rooftop pool.

Staircase at The Set, New York City / Photo: Courtesy of MAWD and Related Companies Angela Hau

Yet despite an abundance of luxuries, the 270-unit building’s most innovative features are less visible but increasingly critical in this post-pandemic era. The project, developed by Related, includes an array of spaces specifically crafted for the hybrid work revolution set in motion by the pandemic.

Professional workspaces on the development’s 44th floor allow executives and entrepreneurs living in the building to conduct business meetings in private conference rooms furnished with premium interiors. Residents also have access to spacious conference rooms with views of the city and Hudson River, as well as private phone booths and indoor and outdoor workstations. An on-site “director of experience” is available to help schedule business lunches at the residents-only restaurant, set up conference calls, and handle the smart-home technology the building employs.

Workspace at The Row, Chicago / Photo: Courtesy of MAWD and Related Companies Scott Frances

“The goal was to create a location that would be appealing to live and work,” says Elliot March, half of the duo behind MAWD, the global architecture and interior design studio that created interiors for The Set. “That meant installing a design not only conducive for wellness and living, but also for conducting business.”

The firm, which has offices in London, New York and Los Angeles, got its start designing interiors for some of London’s most elite private clubs, including The Arts Club and Devonshire Club. That experience informed their approach to developing The Set, says March. The property employs a stylish blend of a private club and coworking space that blurs the line between an upscale hotel and luxury residence. “Ultimately we wanted to offer residents a unique experience, but one that also included all of the practicalities of being able to work where they live,” adds March.

The evolution of coworking spaces has increasingly become a luxury amenity as residential and commercial developers around the globe navigate the post-pandemic property landscape. Builders are adding more private offices and conference rooms to upscale developments to woo residents and capitalize on a lingering work-from-home trend, say property analysts.

Nearly 60 percent of employees in the U.S. are still working from home three or more days a week, according to a Pew Research Center survey. More than a third of workers with jobs that can be done remotely are still working from home full-time, the survey found.

Lounge at Expensify / Photo: Courtesy of ZGF Photo by Garrett Rowland

The new San Francisco office of tech company Expensify is also pushing the boundaries of what a workplace can be. Designed by sustainable architecture studio ZGF, the software firm’s Bay Area outpost employs a hospitality-centered approach with a look and feel of a members’ club in reimagining the modern workplace.

“Ultimately we had to ask ourselves what would get employees to want to come into the building,” says Alan Gerencer, a principal at ZGF Architects who helped lead the design team. “What amenities do we need to go above and beyond to entice and satisfy employees’ needs today, and where do we spend money to make a real impact on our people?”

That impact is seen through bespoke interior details of stained oak, walnut wood and marble that surround plush velvet seating. There are also comfortable lounges to foster an immersive experience. These boutique hotel-style luxuries complement office must-haves including Wi-Fi, private phone rooms and meeting rooms of various sizes.

Set on the 16th floor of a Financial District building, the office employs ample transparent glass to create a welcoming, subtly luxurious environment, says Gerencer. “In some cases, we’re competing with people’s living rooms,” he says. “So we wanted to create a workplace that’s comfortable yet also emotionally inviting.”