Remote Work Hub

The Remote Work Hub RFP is a site selection competition to create a live/work product in a way that has never been done before.

This competition is organized by Common, and seeks to identify the ideal site for the design and development of a Remote Work Hub that addresses the challenges associated with the accelerated growth of the distributed workforce.

The Premise

How we work has fundamentally changed: COVID-19 has rapidly accelerated the growth of remote work and distributed workforces. While this shift poses a threat to entrenched global cities, it also presents a unique opportunity.

Common believes that these changes to the workforce will bring about new geographic talent clusters, and that public-sector leaders willing to provide remote workers with the tools and spaces they need to succeed will benefit immensely. In response, we are excited to present this Request for Proposals for a new kind of live/work product: a Remote Work Hub. The Remote Work Hub will provide housing and workspaces for this new economic reality in an unprecedented but necessary way.

In order to locate an ideal site for the Remote Work Hub, we are inviting respondents from both the public and private sectors to submit a response to this Request for Proposal that illustrates why their respective site is the ideal location to develop a Remote Work Hub. In turn, Common will bring the consumer demand, operational capabilities, design insights, and capital relationships to execute on our plan and make the Remote Work Hub a reality.

Conference

Common's CEO Brad Hargreaves moderated a panel discussion with Remote Work Hub jury members Jenn Chang and Amy Nelson along with real estate expert Dror Poleg about all things remote living. Potential RFP respondents asked questions in advance and during the live video conference, and the panelists spoke about what it was going to take for cities to embrace a remote workforce in 2021 and beyond.

The Goals

We believe the Remote Work Hub is a once-in-a-century opportunity to shift the ‘where’ and the ‘how’ of the growing remote workforce. Through this RFP, our goals are:

Respondents

We are seeking partnerships with governments and landowners to help us select the best possible location for the Hub. Specifically, we are seeking proposals from two types of respondents:

• Public Sector Respondents 

• Real Estate Developer/Owner Respondents 

The respondent may choose to include a real estate developer as a part of the Respondent Team. If no developer is proposed, Common is able to source a developer for the project in Stage II. We are also open to joint proposals and proposals for public-private partnerships.

Finalist Benefits

Common will select up to five Finalists from the Stage I ‘Expression of Interest’ submissions.  With the goal of developing a fully operational Remote Work Hub within the next 18-24 months, Common will provide the marketing engine, capital relationships, and operational capabilities to execute on the winning proposal.

Finalists will receive support from various Common teams through a series of workshops during Stage II on developing the proposal’s design thesis, market positioning, and overall business plan. If appropriate, Finalists will also engage in meetings with potential capital partners facilitated by Common and the Selection Committee.

Advising Jury

About Common

Common is the nation’s leading residential brand that designs, leases, and manages multifamily properties that appeal to today’s renters. Through smart design and tech-enabled property management, Common delivers exceptional experiences across eight cities and 4,000 residents in coliving, microunit, and traditional apartments. Common’s platform of brands includes Kin, a family-focused residential brand, and Noah, a workforce housing operator. Together, Common brands pioneer in delivering innovative housing typologies to demographics completely underserved by the current market. With 17,500 beds signed and under development and over $110 million in venture capital investment, Common is expanding into 22 cities across the world.

Competition Timeline

August 18th, 2020 | RFP Brief Release 

September 2nd, 2020 | Pre-submission Conference 

September 16th, 2020 | Questions Due 

September 2020 | Q+A Addendum Release 

October 16th, 2020 | Stage I ‘Expression of Interest’ Submissions Due 

November 2020 | Stage I Finalists Announced and Stage II Submission Requirements Released 

November 2020 - January 2021 | Finalist Workshops 

January 2021 | Stage II ‘Development Proposals’ Due 

Q1 2021 | Stage II Winner(s) Announced 

2022 - 2023 | Project Opening

The Hub

The Remote Work Hub will provide a place for remote workers to live, work, and socialize. It can take the shape of garden-style apartments, multiple mid-rise buildings in a campus, a high-rise mixed-use building, or a community of single-family homes. We are intentionally flexible at this stage about the Hub’s programming so we can adapt our vision to the specific location and community. However, the Hub should provide the following three functions:

Live. The Hub should be a place for residents to live and grow. We wish to welcome a minimum of 300 residents to the Hub, and possibly many more over time. 

Work. The Hub should be a place for the remote worker to be productive. The Hub should offer a variety of spaces for residents to work digitally, ranging from open-concept working spaces to smaller, private quiet spaces. 

Enjoy. The Hub (and its immediate surroundings) should be a place to socialize, relax, and enjoy life. The Hub should offer a variety of recreational activities and resident amenities, but not be overly focused on luxury to the detriment of affordability.

If you would like to learn about what Common is doing to help multifamily owners and developers realize the remote work opportunity, please get in touch.

Amy Nelson

Amy has served as CEO of Venture For America, an organization that selects, trains, and supports the next generation of entrepreneurs, since 2017. Prior to becoming CEO, Amy served as Managing Director and VP of External relations at VFA, leading efforts that tripled the organization’s fundraising, and expanded its operations to 11 new cities.

Vishaan Chakrabarti

Vishaan is the Founder and Creative Director of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), as well as the William W. Wurster Dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. Over his long career as both a principal at SHoP Architects and the director of the Manhattan Office for the New York Department of City Planning, Vishaan helmed and collaborated on several major urban design and architecture projects including the Domino Sugar site in Williamsburg and Essex Crossing at Seward Park.

Ryan Simonetti

Ryan is the CEO and co-founder of Convene, the company that designs and services premium places to work, meet, and host inspiring events. Convene has raised $410M in funding to date, and has been named one of America’s 100 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a Best Workplace by both Inc. and Fortune Magazine.

Jenn Chang

Jenn is the Creative Director at Common. Since joining the company in 2017, Jenn has overseen the Architecture and Interior Departments in addition to leading research on coliving and the housing crisis at large. Prior to her work at Common, she was a Senior Associate at SHoP Architects, where she led the design of several high-profile multi-family residential projects.

Joe Lonsdale

Joe is a Partner at 8VC, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm that manages about $3.5 billion. He was an early institutional investor in many notable companies including Wish, Oculus, Oscar, Illumio, Blend, RelateIQ, Joby Aviation, Guardant Health, and Synthego. Before starting his investment firm, Joe co-founded Palantir, a multi-billion dollar global software company known for its work in defense and other industries.

Watch the full discussion here

Adam Demuyakor

Adam is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Wilshire Lane Partners, an investment firm focused on emerging technology in real estate and space utilization. Prior to co-founding Wilshire Lane Partners, he worked as a venture capital investor at Fifth Wall Ventures as well as Andreessen Horowitz.

Michael Nutter

Michael Nutter is a life-long Philadelphian, born and raised in West Philadelphia and educated at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After serving almost 15 years in the Philadelphia City Council, Michael A. Nutter was elected its 98th Mayor in November 2007 and took office in January 2008. As Mayor, he made large and significant contributions to the city of Philadelphia, including decreasing homicides to an almost 50 year low, increasing high school and college graduation rates, and actively growing Philadelphia’s population.

To design, develop, and build an innovative new live/work product for an emerging workforce.

1

To provide direct access to technology-fueled economic growth, to cities and jurisdictions that have been on the “outside looking in”.

2

Q+A

What are the criteria that the RWH submissions are assessed on?

• The Qualification Criteria can be found in the RFP Brief on page 20. 

• The primary intent of the Stage 1 ‘ Expression of Interest’ is to get the best understanding of what the site and project offers to a potential Remote Work Hub


How should respondents think about the goal of having the RWH operational in 18-24 months?

• The 18-24 month timeline for delivery is intended to target projects that have a clear line of sight on realization. 

• Different projects will have different timelines, and as such the guidance is not a firm requirement (projects with a near term delivery may have other impediments to realization, while projects with longer timelines may be fully solidified and simply require a longer development process) 

• It’s important for the submission to show what stage the project is currently at and what are the necessary high-level stages remaining to opening


How should respondents think about the 300 resident size requirement?

• The goal of the size requirement is to have all submissions be of ‘institutional scale’ 

• 300 residents is an aiming point, not necessarily fixed threshold, however it is unlikely that any project with less than 150 residents would be a fit


How should respondents approach compiling the submission deliverable?

• Generally, the goal of the RFP is to be bring to light compelling projects and sites in attractive markets that have not traditionally been the focus for major technology-driven employers

• For Stage I “Expression of Interest,” a compelling site is more important than a complete project vision.

• Common’s expectation of the items under ‘Information Requested’ is that the majority of content should be existing background information on the Respondent’s site and team.  Should there be information unavailable to the Respondent, we recommend the Respondent to simply put “No Information Available” under that section.  We recognize that not all Respondents will have access to every item requested.


Does Common plan to master lease space in the RWH?

• Common will manage space in the RWH  under it’s typical structure, which is a fee-based management agreement 

• Common will not make principal investments into the RWH and will serve solely as designer/manager/operator 


Will Common manage the commercial/office/flex space in the RWH?

• Depending on the specific context, Common will facilitate the management of the commercial space through a variety of options 

• The work portion of the RWH can range from in-unit design supporting a more thoughtful work-from-home approach to a full commercial lease with a major tech tenant 

• Common will directly manage work spaces that are exclusive to residents and guests 

• For coworking type formats where non-residents pay rent for flexible office space, Common and the respondent will engage with local, regional, and national third-party operators to be a resource for residents and source of revenue for owners


We are a government or related public agency that has a site without a developer, can we submit for the RWH?

• Yes, the Remote Work Hub team is interested in receiving submissions from both private and public respondents

• A major part of the process during Stage 2 is the creation and realization of development teams, including coordinating introductions 


Practical considerations

• The specific Deliverable requirements are on page 21 of the RFP Brief 

• Assemble the contents from the Brief into a PDF and email per the instructions in the RFP Brief 

• Please try to make it clear which section you are covering in each part of your responses, even if existing content is used to answer the Brief 

• If you have any questions don’t hesitate to to reach out to remoteworkhub_RFP@common.com

Finalists

On January 22nd, Common announced the five finalists for the Hub, representing five different unique visions and categories of emerging cities that are poised to benefit from the sweeping popularity of remote work. Respondents from New Orleans, Bentonville, Ogden, Rocky Mount, and Rochester will move into the workshop phase to become Common’s first ever Remote Work Hub locations.

The Established City: NOLA Workstyle in New Orleans, Louisiana 

Submitted by Formwork Development, NOLA Workstyle provides remote workers a home in a diverse and culturally rich city, and balances the demands of remote work with access to an urban linear park that resembles the Beltline in Atlanta and the Highline in New York City.  Within the growing and diverse Mid-City neighborhood, the proposal includes a series of buildings containing over 200 residential units featuring private outdoor spaces with flexible floor plans including in-home work areas, and targets that 35% of the project scope will be performed by minority or women-owned businesses.

The Under the Radar Gem: Downtown Bentonville, Arkansas

Bentonville is an affordable midsize city on the rise, with strong leadership and local champions for economic opportunity.  The proposal from local real estate trailblazers Blue Crane LLC is a multi-acre that will be master-planned to create a new destination in the city.  Northwest Arkansas is home to multiple fortune 500 companies, world-class museums, the University of Arkansas, and well-loved trail systems. The region is economically strong and a great place for startups, entrepreneurship, and established companies alike. This paired with the region’s high quality of life make Northwest Arkansas a strong choice for developers and investors. Bentonville has a thriving cycling community and was recently named Mountain Biking Capital of the World, where approximately 130 miles of single-track mountain biking trails connect to the city’s downtown. Daily life in Bentonville offers local art and culinary experiences, including performances, an expanding public art scene, restaurants, craft breweries, and more. 

Placemaking Perfected: Rocky Mount Mills in Rocky Mount, NC

After completing the renovation of a 200-year old cotton mill with offices, residences, a tiny home hotel and microbrewery incubator, family-owned Capitol Broadcasting Company is looking to tackle the urban-rural divide in the second phase of the project. The site, adjacent to the first phase is 45 minutes east of Raleigh and includes a 100,000 square foot textile mill that will reimagine a live-work hub borrowing lessons from CBC's work on its own startup hub (American Underground) and historic renovation project (American Tobacco Campus) in Durham, NC. 

The Remote Work Destination: Electric Alley & Powder Mountain in Ogden, Utah

Submitted by a partnership between Outlier Realty Capital and Powder Development, Electric Alley & Powder Mountain is a multi-phase development touching both downtown Ogden and Powder Mountain, North America’s largest ski resort. Totaling about 200k square feet of buildable space in the heart of Downtown Ogden, the site envisions live, work, and play through multiple mixed-use buildings offering a wide variety of amenities and seamless access to some of the best recreation in the country. 

A 2021 Revival: The Aqueduct in Rochester, New York

The Aqueduct is an iconic historic landmark campus with a park located on the Genesee river at the center of downtown Rochester. This seven building adaptive reuse development includes 194k square feet of space previously used as commercial office that will be renovated into 150+ residential units/beds, remote work spaces, amenity, and commercial spaces.  This transformative project will create a unique live, work, and play campus that will be a mecca for tech workers, students, and artisans to collaborate and experience pop up events in Aqueduct Park.  Aqueduct will be programmed with retail/amenity spaces that connect to the Roc the Riverway promenade which will further activate the west side of the riverfront. The developer’s major investment continues the economic revitalization of downtown Rochester, building upon the innovation ecosystem and remote work initiatives already established by ROC 2025. Principals on the project include Landers Management, Costanza Enterprises, and Rob Sands.



Finalist Workshops

As part of the second stage of the Remote Work Hub RFP, Common is working with each of the five Finalists to develop innovative real estate concepts that unlock the potential for remote worker demand. These include creative solutions for working from home, coworking oriented amenity spaces, and new approaches to office. In addition to the built environment, Common will help Finalists drive demand from potential residents and commercial occupiers across the country.

Get in touch