In the first quarter there were a significant number of large firms moving to the Tampa Bay area as well as some headquarters relocations:
- Dynasty Financial Partners a billion-dollar wealth management firm relocated its headquarters from New York City to downtown St. Petersburg.
- ISOCRATES LLC a digital media and marketing firm relocated its headquarters from Connecticut to downtown St. Petersburg.
- A franchise of WorkLodge, a Houston-based co-working company will open a 28,000 foot site in downtown St.Petersburg.
- Baker McKenzie the largest law firm in the US announced that it was opening an office in downtown Tampa. It is the largest global law firm to establish an office in Tampa.
Perhaps the most exciting announcement is that WeWork, the largest coworking company in the US will occupy 50,000 feet in Heights Union an office building under construction in the Heights. The Heights is a mixed-use development on the northern end of downtown Tampa. WeWork is scheduled to occupy that site in early 2020. Shortly after that announcement, WeWork announced that it will open a second location at 501 East Kennedy in downtown Tampa. That lease is for 60,000 feet and the building will be renamed WeWork Place. Occupancy in the second location is also scheduled for early 2020. Finally, there are rumors that WeWork is also looking to open an office at MidTown Tampa where construction of phase I is set to begin in the second quarter of 2020.
While not yet announced, reliable sources have indicated that WeWork is also finalizing a lease for 30,000 feet at One Progress Plaza in downtown St. Petersburg.
The addition large blocks of co-working space is great news for the burgeoning startup scene in Tampa Bay. Most successful startups begin small and then grow rapidly which makes it hard for them to sign a typical 5 to 10-year office lease. Co-working space provides companies with immediate access to fully operational space and offers the flexibility to grow or shrink as needs arise. You can find all Tampa co-working spaces here.
In Tampa Bay where most office leases are in the 5,000 to 10,000 square foot range, WeWork will be a significant tenant in each of the buildings it occupies. Some real estate professionals are concerned that co-working companies could suffer disproportionately in a recession as tenants could simply walk away from their short-term leases while the co-working operator would have to continue paying rent on its long-term lease. If the co-working company defaulted on its lease the landlord would be left with significant vacancy.