Daily Digest News – March 12, 2021

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Dallas Software Firm Launches Office Experience Platform

Dallas-based office operating platform Honeycomb has released a commercial version of its software intended to help with the future of work.

As a result of the past year and the pandemic, the office industry is now honed in on creating the most flexible environment possible to accommodate new demands.

This has led companies to transition to shorter leases, cut down on their real estate footprint and look to adopt more flexible offices in suburban areas.

Honeycomb’s technology aims to simplify these operations for buildings and tenants alike. Through the platform, users can gain access to parking, entry access, energy usage, visitor management and more.

“When you think about it, coworking was the market response to the demand of smaller tenants looking for lease flexibility. In 2020, corporations are now seeking broader operational flexibility to accommodate employees and the sharing of resources across locations,” said D’Arcy Young, Honeycomb Founder. “We built Honeycomb to be the keystone technology to power flexibility from the suite level to the entire building and across a portfolio.”

Honeycomb’s goal is to create a seamless user experience across all locations and unify each building’s technologies into one application.

Credit: Canva

Habyt Acquires Another Coliving Startup

Berlin-based coliving company Habyt has acquired other coliving startup Quarters, marking the company’s third acquisition since its founding in 2017.

Now that Habyt has 4,000 rooms across five countries in Europe, it is clear that the industry is turning down the road of consolidation as a result of the pandemic.

“Coliving works at large scale, therefore consolidation is to be expected — especially in downturns of the market,” said Luca Bovone, CEO and founder of Habyt. “The deal marks the beginning of a real consolidation season for the coliving industry in general.”

Last year, Habyt acquired Madrid-based company Erasmo and Berlin startup GoLiving as it works to become the top coliving operator in Europe.

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Quarters was one of the first coliving players in the world when it was founded in 2012. The company once had 3,000 operational units with 4,500 under development in the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands. However, the pandemic forced the company to close down its U.S. operations.

On January 15, the firm filed for bankruptcy and immediately began a mergers and acquisitions process.

Now, Habyt is the only coliving company that is focused on growing through M&A.

“The biggest issue for coliving businesses is supply,” said Ferdinand von Fumetti, cofounder and CFO at Quarters. “In a non-pandemic situation, there will always be demand for affordable housing in city centres, but on the supply side, it’s rare to find empty residential buildings that you can rent for a fair price.”

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Office Design To Center Efforts On Health And Wellness

As vaccines continue to be distributed, both employers and employees are readying themselves to return to the office. However, these spaces must undergo changes unlike ever before.

“What is the appropriate office design?” and “Which features will make occupants feel safe?” are just a few of the questions racing through the heads of project management teams at the moment.

One thing that is certain is the office will be less about serving as a productive space, and more about nurturing collaboration, community and wellness.

This means designing and equipping offices with technology-centric meeting spaces, private booths, improved HVAC systems, more outdoor space, plenty of natural light and more.

For instance, Fiona Haulter and GBT Realty’s development team were in the midst of finding a construction loan for the $141 million office project One22One in Nashville’s Gulch neighborhood when the pandemic started to become a real concern.

Instead of scraping their plans, the team shifted their goal to become the city’s first major development of the pandemic era.

The development now features thermal-imaging cameras, UV lighting to kill viruses and elevators with a “destination dispatch” system to avoid overcrowding and high-touch areas.

“It’s not like we’re designing something today and then tomorrow we decide that we’ll go back to the old way because the virus is under control,” said Lee Zoller, CEO of Nashville-based firm Division Street Development. “I think that’ll be the new norm, because you don’t want to have to say your building doesn’t do what it can to protect its tenants.”

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