Koelbel and Company Launch New Work-Near-Home Office Concept

Walt, Buz, Carl, and Dean Koelbel.

According to JLL and CBRE, Work-Near-Home and other flexible work options are replacing up to 30% of the stressed traditional office model. Of all office uses, flexible offices have the highest utilization rate post-Covid and 90% of individuals and 80% of companies are interested in flexible work options.

To address this demand, Koelbel and Company and Hemmeter Ventures have joined forces to introduce Work Simple, a new work-near-home (WNH) office concept that provides flexible work environments that are conveniently located in suburban markets and easily accessible to their target users across the country.

A key differentiator is that Work Simple will own its buildings while virtually all competitors operate out of leased or managed space. With a nationwide network that rides the work-near-home wave, Work Simple focuses on converting distressed opportunities in the traditional office market into private office spaces that are intentionally designed to enhance productivity and convenience, optimize the work environment, and attain an optimal work-life balance.

“Many workers can’t or don’t want to work from home anymore, but they also don’t want long commutes,” said Mark Hemmeter, co-founder and CEO of Work Simple. “Work Simple is the solution for working NEAR Home when working FROM doesn’t work.”

Workplace disruptions and difficult financial markets have led to a large influx of distressed Class B office properties in suburban markets, which many experts believe to be a deeply undervalued asset class. Work Simple plans to take these existing buildings and create smart, functional workplace solutions for individuals or small businesses who want to work away from home — yet still be near their homes. Individual offices will be approximately 10×10 square feet – perfect for one to two individuals per office – with shared amenities including kitchens and conference rooms.

“Coming out of the pandemic, we saw a need in the industry for the next evolution of workspace, as people and companies recognized that working from home is not a long-term solution and neither was the large downtown office lease,” said Carl Koelbel, chief operating officer of Koelbel and Company. “We believe the Work Simple model is the answer.”

Converting the buildings into a fully dedicated flex workplace solution is a great opportunity in the right locations. Work Simple plans to assemble and reposition a portfolio of 50+ buildings in five years and then exit to a wide array of possible buyers.

“The question isn’t where Work Simple will be, but instead where we won’t be, which is namely central business districts of large metropolitan areas,” commented Hemmeter. “Instead, we will be identifying stable and growing markets that are pro-business, with low taxes and reduced regulations, as well as ample space and opportunity.”

The team expects to bring this model to more than 50 markets over the next five years in locations across the country. The initial target list includes the Rocky Mountain Region, Midwest, Southeast, and Northwest. They are currently under contract on their first portfolio acquisition in the Midwest which will close in fall 2024.

Hemmeter Partnership

A long-term friendship brought Mark Hemmeter and the Koelbel team together to create this vision and there is no more suitable partnership to handle the acquisition, development, management, and growth of the Work Simple portfolio. Hemmeter is a 20-year veteran of the flexible office industry and the founder of Office Evolution, the nation’s largest suburban-focused, flex office operator and franchisor (which he sold in 2022). The day-to-day operating business will be managed by Hemmeter whose vast experience is a key differentiator in the flex work market today.

“This unique partnership is perfectly suited to handle the acquisition, development, management, and growth of Work Simple,” said Buz Koelbel, president of Koelbel and Company. “The partnership between Mark Hemmeter and Koelbel and Company combines experience from the two industries required to implement a successful business strategy for the Work Simple platform.”

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