National coworking group to open in Clayton, bucking industry trend
January 24, 2020

Originally posted in the St. Louis Business Journal

By Steph Kukuljan

Serendipity Labs, a New York-based coworking network, is set to open its first St. Louis-area location this year.

And its debut in Clayton, expected to happen in the second quarter of this year, is an outlier of where coworking brands typically like to locate.

Serendipity Labs franchisee RETKO Group, led by Rob Bowman, is behind the opening at Maryland Place, 8112 Maryland Ave. JLL’s David Steinbach represented RETKO Group in its 10-year lease with Maryland Place, which was represented by Sansone Group’s Brandon Wappelhorst, Tom Bajardi and Nick Fiquette.

The location will occupy 16,700 square feet and offer shared and private offices, conference room and lounge space, as well as a presentation room for up to 40 people. It also will provide outdoor terraces and frosted glass, so members don’t feel like they live in a fishbowl, Bowman said. His RETKO Group is expected to open six Serendipity locations in the St. Louis region.

“I told them we have to take Clayton. That’s where everyone wants to be,” said Bowman, who’s also president and managing broker of Terra Properties. The Korte Co. has been tapped to do renovations.

The Clayton office submarket reported a 6% vacancy rate in the last quarter of 2019, among the lowest in the region, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Serendipity Labs’ opening in a suburban market is somewhat atypical for the U.S. coworking industry, as many operators cluster in urban and downtown areas, according to research from commercial real estate firms CBRE and Cushman & Wakefield.

Midwest downtown areas are mostly comprised of coworking space, the research found. In the suburbs, a little more than a third of office space is dedicated coworking space, research from CBRE shows. Cushman & Wakefield St. Louis’ David Hoebbel and Brian Ungles found that downtown and the Central West End account for roughly 58% of coworking space in the St. Louis region.

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