The former Piedmont Plush Mill located on Highway 123 between downtown and the Village of West Greenville soon will be home to a new model of coworking — Serendipity Labs — an upscale hospitality brand offering a flexible workplace option for large companies, mobile professionals, and independent workers.
This will be the first location for Serendipity Labs Coworking in South Carolina, said Trey Scott, a veteran hotel professional and entrepreneur who is the franchise owner of the location slated to open this summer.
Shelby Dodson of CBRE represented the landlord, and Conor Brennan with JLL in Charlotte, N.C., represented the tenant in the transaction. Mark Peters of Fountain Inn bought the dilapidated industrial complex at 200 Easley Bridge Road in October 2016 with plans to renovate the 24,000-square-foot historic mill building into creative office space.
The original development built in 1925, now called Plush Mill, was designed by J.E. Sirrine, a local architect whose projects, including the Poinsett Hotel, Greenville High School, Parker High School, Camp Sevier, and the Greenville Country Club, helped shape modern Greenville.
The redevelopment will keep the open space, high ceilings, original flooring, exposed brick walls, and skylights.
“Serendipity Labs isn’t your typical co-working experience,” Scott said. “Just like the Plush Mill site isn’t your typical location. We believe the renovation and rebirth of this historic structure will be one of the most talked about developments in Greenville for quite some time.”
Recognizable to passersby because of its bank of 24-pane glass windows, the 2.94-acre site was recently annexed into Greenville city limits in anticipation of its rebirth as Serendipity Labs.
“We are taking something old in Greenville and making it new again,” Scott said. “That goes for the building and the traditional coworking model.”
Serendipity Labs was founded by industry leader John Arenas in 2011 with a singular vision: to build a network of inspirational members-only workplaces, combining state-of-the-art workplace design, technology, and security with the highest hospitality service-level to deliver a peerless workplace experience. With 10 locations currently open in large metropolitan markets and 125 under development, it is expanding with company-owned, managed, and franchised locations in urban, suburban, and secondary markets using the same model as the hotel industry.
Serendipity Labs is designed to encourage serendipitous interactions that result in new ideas and business connections through a variety of work-style settings and events which will be curated by local Greenville staff.
“This is corporate coworking,” said Arenas, Serendipity Labs’ Chairman and CEO. “We work to ensure our Labs support the culture and values of our members and client companies. We are an upscale, enterprise-class network, not just another pretty space.”
According to Arenas, 45 percent of its current members come from well-recognized companies, 20 percent are startups, and 35 percent are independent professionals in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. More than 40 percent are women — double the industry average.
Arenas said growth potential and proximity to Atlanta are key reasons the company, along with Scott, chose Greenville for its first South Carolina location.
“Every city that has an office market is going to need a coworking solution,” he said. “It is going to be part of the office portfolio and real-estate solution for every company in the future. Local Greenville business and companies based out of Atlanta need flexible, shared offices, and coworking they can trust.”
Coworking now constitutes 27 million square feet of office space. Emergent Research predicts it will double in the next two years — a 23.8 percent compounded annual growth rate.
Serendipity Labs offers memberships that include dedicated offices, team rooms, and full-time and part-time coworking. Each Lab has meeting rooms, private focus and wellness rooms, a work lounge, Lab Café, and visual studios with full A/V capabilities. It is also available for business meetings and offsite events. Corporate memberships are also available.
Existing Greenville coworking options include Atlas Local, located inside the redeveloped Brandon Mill; Endeavor Greenville in the ONE Building; The Wheelhouse at 25 Delano Drive; Textile Hall in the Village of West Greenville; and Society Hall at 504 Rhett St. in the West End.