New coworking site tries to balance post-COVID workplace needs

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LATHAM – A local apartment developer and manager is expanding into the office market with a new co-working facility that he hopes will meet the needs of the post-COVID era.

Sunrise Solars Coworking is one of three passive solar buildings constructed in a cluster in Latham by Sunrise Management & Consulting. An official ribbon cut is scheduled for Tuesday, but two tenants have already committed to the space.

It is one of many new coworking spaces across the region and is built around the same general concept: small, flexible spaces for businesses or entrepreneurs who do not wish to commit to a particular area for an extended period. .

“We designed this a little differently from other co-working spaces,” Sunrise President Jesse Holland said on Friday.

Many have an open area where tenants sit nearby, as well as private offices or suites. Sunrise ignored the lifters layout and divided the room.

“Ours is all built,” he said. “You end up with a relatively private space. “

There is also a conference room if more space is needed.

With all new ventilation equipment to the latest standards and 14 individual workspaces with walls and windows, the design is expected to provide increased safety against the spread of germs in the workplace, which remains a concern for many people even though the pandemic is abating.

“At the same time, the office market is even more dynamic,” said Holland, a resident of Niskayuna.

“It’s smoother now, or people would like it to be smoother if you can. It’s hard to think in five-year blocks or 10-year blocks.

“We only require a monthly subscription,” Holland said. “We think there are a lot of companies that have five people who don’t want to be completely virtual… but unless they get together, they’re not all in the office at the same time. It becomes a much more efficient way.

An insurance company and a recruiting company are the top two tenants. The space also received transitional visits, including from employees of a Syracuse engineering company working in the capital region.

Sunrise was previously based on the Washington Avenue Extension in Albany and decided to set up an office on the same campus as the two passive solar-powered apartment buildings it was building.

COVID has blurred the schedule – Sunrise was unable to complete the new office space before its old space’s lease expired, so it worked in one of the apartments for a while. The remaining apartments were fully let within 45 days of the completion of the two buildings in February and July 2020.

As for the 1,000 or so other apartments that Sunrise owns or manages in the capital region, the impact of COVID has not been too severe: some tenants have lost their jobs and have not been able to pay their rent. . One of them was stranded in Ghana and could not access his funds.

“Most of our residents have done the right thing by us and we have tried to do the right thing by them,” said Holland.

This has included Sunrise releasing them from their leases or developing a repayment plan for overdue rents.

Some have refused to pay and even tell homeowners about it, a scenario that many homeowners say crushes them amid the pandemic. The number of such tenants is very low for Sunrise, Holland said, but there is no leverage against them, as long as the moratorium on evictions continues.

Sunrise has managed a few small commercial and retail buildings, but this is its first foray into office space.

Its new head office is in the same building and was in fact the impetus that led to the creation of the co-working space.

“It was born out of the desire for our own office space,” Holland said.

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