Week of January 22, 2001
Editor's Choice Web Pick
Offices2share.com: A Dot-Com That
Offices2share.com (www.offices2share.com) may be a Web site whose time has come.
And that's no mean feat, considering the pervasive carnage among real estate dot-coms. Ironically, however, the dot-com nosedive is precisely the kind of situation that fits Offices2share.com's strategy.
Founded in March of 1999, Offices2share.com was set up to electronically link two fragmented real estate sectors: players looking for short-term office leases and players with short-term office space for lease - the latter's ranks rapidly growing as more and more dot-coms dump space on their way out the door to bankruptcy court.
Like most good ideas, that notion strikes most of us as a simple, commonsensical notion. And like most good ideas, the simple, commonsensical notion only became oh-so obvious after someone else did it.
Offices2share.com did it, and it's wisely kept things simple. Reflecting today's quicksilver business environment, users looking for short-term space are often in a hurry. Many, in fact, want space yesterday.
Accordingly, Offices2share.com facilitates rapid searches. Users can search by U.S. city or county and for the desired range of square footage.
Users can also define their searches by types of short-term space, which the site defines as "all, shares, sublets, landlord-direct, executive suites, etc. . . . of three years or less."
Offices2share.com.'s space categories include:
Offices2share.com's role is that of electronic intermediary. Users can link directly (through "View Contact Information") with the group listing any property in which they're interested.
You won't, however, find properties listed for every major U.S. city. Offices2share currently has listings for some 150 U.S. cities. For some cities you'll find numerous entries. Manhattan alone, for example, has 270 listings in the "office space" category. Other cities have far fewer. Newark, N.J., for example, has one only office listing. (Conveniently, the site only lists cities and states for which it has listings.)
Space options go well beyond U.S. borders, though, in the site's "Super Short-Term Space" section. Part of Offices2share.com's redesigned Web site, that search option lists worldwide office space that's available on an hourly, daily or weekly basis.
The "Super Short-Term" section signals that Offices2share.com, like most things dot-com, isn't the same online animal that was originally launched. Initially, the site focused on small spaces for small businesses. On Jan. 3, though, Offices2share.com expanded into all types of short-term office space.
"When brokers and major corporations kept asking us why we were limiting ourselves to small space, we realized that we could fill an additional need in the marketplace," said Jeffrey Landers, Offices2share.com founder and president. "We are still emphasizing the sharing of office space, but by aggregating all forms and all sizes of short-term office space, we can offer site visitors the most comprehensive resource of flexible space available anywhere." Okay, we said. We gave the "Super Short-Term Space" option a whirl in a relatively obscure nation: Latvia. We searched for any office space available for the next two days - industrial-strength short notice. Our search, however, turned up two available work spaces in Riga, Latvia, both at a Regus Business Centre (www.regus.com).
Closer to home, we searched for a space we already knew about. And sure enough, that space turned up in our search for Norcross, Ga. (in the Atlanta metro): HQ Global Workplaces' Technology Park Center (www.hqglobal.com), which happens to be our next-door office neighbor.
Significantly, the site processed both searches rapidly and smoothly.
Offices2share.com's broader focus is also reflected in a property prominently featured on the site's homepage: 128,000 sq. ft. (11,520 sq. m.) of office space recently vacated by the Los Angeles office of Deloitte & Touche (www.usdeloitte.com). The space became available after Deloitte & Touche's growth prompted it to move to quarters three times larger than the vacated square footage.
"Deloitte chose Offices2share.com because it reaches so many businesses seeking what we're offering: quality office space available in various sizes without a long-term commitment," said Dennis E. Smith of Travers Realty (www.traversrealty.com), the listing agent working with Deloitte and Touche.
Conversely, Offices2share.com offers a vehicle for fast-growing companies that want to lease more space than they currently need. By subleasing the unused space, such companies can recapture part of their investment while still positioning themselves for growth surges. All in all, the mix looks promising for Offices2share.com. The site, however, faces a major crossroads on March 1. That's the day when space providers begin to pay for running property listings that have heretofore been free.
The days after March 1, then, will likely tell the tale of whether the time for Offices2share.com's idea has truly come.
UPDATE: RealEstate.com (www.realestate.com), our Web review for the week of Jan. 8, is again up and running. When we wrote our review, shortly after RealEstate.com had been taken over by new owner (and major creditor) J.P. Carey, the site wasn't responding. Now, it is.
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©2001 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.