Real-estate companies are transforming suburban residences and retail spaces into offices, betting that the pandemic will increase demand for workspaces in these neighborhoods.
With many Americans working at home and planning to continue even after the pandemic, some startups and landlords believe these employees will want a place to work beyond their living room. They are offering these workers a nearby alternative: furnished office space, bookable by the day or month and within walking distance from home.
One of those companies is Daybase, a New York-based startup founded by the former WeWork executives Joel Steinhaus and Doug Chambers. It is launching this week and plans to open its first locations in Northern New Jersey, this year, eyeing suburban towns like Hoboken and Montclair.
A proliferation of new suburban office spaces could help fill empty retail space. They could also further blur the distinction between residential and commercial neighborhoods and help remake metropolitan areas.
Today, most cities are built around central business districts designed for commuters. But some urban planners suggest cities could become more decentralized, with more and smaller offices throughout the suburbs. That would allow more people to work and shop without ever having to commute far.