By any standard, Rye resident John Arenas knows real estate. After getting a degree in civil engineering back in 1975, he got a job with Turner Construction, building office buildings.
By Bill Lawyer
By any standard, Rye resident John Arenas knows real estate. After getting a degree in civil engineering, he got a job with Turner Construction, building office buildings. A few years later, he started working on the financial side of real estate construction. As he saw a downturn in the office real estate construction sector, he took a job with Regus, a company that leased empty office space and set up “business centers” that offered individuals or companies flexible amounts of space with various levels of sup- port services. Then, in a lateral move, Arenas set up a business that used Saber software to allow businesses to book meeting and event spaces in hotels around the world. He sold that business to a larger company, in 2011.
Now he’s back, with the recently opened Serendipity Labs facility, located on the corner of Locust and Theodore Fremd avenues. True to his vision of the changing workplace environment, the company is recruiting members, not tenants. There are four levels: Friend of the Lab, for $49/month; Mobility Plan, for $199/month; the Coworker Plan, for $499/month; and, Resident Plan, for $699 to $1,399 per month.
The different levels are based on the frequency and intensity of a member’s use of the various features of the facility. The facility itself is divided into three main areas, offering conference/meeting space, socializing space, and office workspace.
Through the company’s promotional efforts, over 150 people attended the grand opening. They plan a wide-ranging public relations and marketing campaign, using digital ads and social media platforms, other events, and community outreach to partner with non-profits such as the Rye Arts Center.
Arenas’ goal is to break even within six months. He projects that on an average day, about 30 members will use the facility. He expects there will be about 100 members of all types by then. So far, many of the members have tended to be executive-level women. “They get it,” Arenas said.
His corporate goal is to recruit companies to purchase franchises — a total of ten facilities in Westchester, Rockland, and Fairfield counties within five years’ time. He also expects an additional ten facilities to be set up in New Jersey.
Along with these, there will be two “hub” facilities established within the next year – one in New York City and one in Chicago – where more suburban franchises will be developed.
Right now, the Rye office has a staff of three, led by manager Tracey DiBrino. They are currently interviewing candidates for the position of membership marketing and community events manager.
Local realtors are now including Serendipity Labs as another good reason why house hunters should choose Rye.