The Liberty Bank Building, home to Pittsburgh’s premier co-working outfit, the Beauty Shoppe, has completed its investment cycle. Investors on Small Change crowdfunded $300,000 towards this effort over the summer of 2017. And they realized returns of 10% annually on their investments. At the end of the day their initial investment + 15% was returned to them. Co-working pays off.
Work is proceeding on the second floor improvements, albeit slowly. The outcome of negotiations with a new storefront tenant is slowing this down, since those will determine final plans for the Beauty Shoppe entry to the building.
The fourth and fifth floor tenants have both indicated a desire to extend their leases while participating in Beauty Shoppe services. As a result, far less renovation work will be required in the building eliminating the need to raise additional funds.
Pittsburgh continues to see strong demand for coworking. Liberty Bank Building has carved out a special niche in this market both due to its location and to the building itself, and has a strong, vibrant, and loyal community.
Since closing this summer’s capital raise, the team has begun a range of improvements aimed at expanding the coworking operation, upgrading existing coworking and common areas within the building, and general operating improvements. They have approached this work on a suite-by-suite project basis, at times staging work to accommodate operations. Improvement goals completed this fall include constructing new offices and common areas in Suite 402 to expand the coworking operation and the ground floor Suite 102. The team has also begun on a staged approach to improvements to Suite 201 and 302 in preparation for a range of improvements to be completed this Winter aimed at more efficient and upgraded coworking space. In addition to these more major projects, a number of smaller projects are planned into Spring 2018 that will add amenities, interior and exterior signage, art, landscaping, and other improvements to the building for our members, tenants, and the community.
To date, none of the funds raised have been used for improvements. The renovations for 402 were paid for entirely out of the building’s cash flow, leaving the full $300,000 available for the upcoming renovations.
The new fourth floor space is expected to be occupied by the end of June. While construction has fallen a month behind (due to a very tardy sprinkler vendor), walls are being painted, desks have been moved up from the second floor, and additional furniture has been ordered. Once this space is occupied, The Beauty Shoppe will occupy 55% of the Liberty Bank Building. And while contractor costs have increased a little (by about $3,000) this increase has been offset by lower than anticipated costs for furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
Beauty Shoppe membership is currently at around 80%. This is part of a deliberate plan to reduce occupancy in order to accommodate members and minimize disturbance during construction, moving members to the second floor during construction. Before construction winds down, Beauty Shoppe will aggressively market membership to increase occupancy. In the mean time conversations are continuing with a diverse group of potential members.
Images courtesy of The Beauty Shoppe