Life Time Work, the creative office division of Minnesota-based Life Time Inc., has been heavily investing in Houston in recent years. And James O’Reilly, president of Life Time Work, said the company’s investment in Houston isn’t stopping anytime soon.
Life Time Work will open its first Houston coworking space in 25,000 square feet at CityCentre Five in May. It’ll be Life Time Work’s third location in the U.S. Later this year, Life Time Work will open its second Houston location at downtown mixed-use development Greenstreet.
O’Reilly spoke with the Houston Business Journal about what’s drawn Life Time Work to Houston, the city’s coworking ecosystem and when we can expect Life Time Work’s third Houston location.
Why has Life Time invested so heavily in Houston in recent years? Over the last couple years, we’ve obviously seen this shift in capabilities — mostly around technology — to develop energy in the U.S. Houston’s already benefited from that. So, what we’re most excited about in Houston is the diversification of its industry base. We see a good amount of technology, a good amount of creative and advertising (companies), and a good amount of activity in the city.
The other thing we look at is diversity of workforce. Houston has a huge population of immigrants, and we think that makes for a very dynamic environment. The long-term trends for demographic growth are very strong.
When it comes to coworking space, how served or underserved do you think Houston is? We think that Houston is significantly underserved for flexible or shared workspace providers. We think there’s lots of people who cater to early stage companies, which, for better or worse, means dudes in their twenties in their hoodies with a beer keg in the corner.
(Our) demographic, many times, is folks on their second act. Maybe they’re moving onto something new, whether it’s a new career or the launch of something new.
Life Time Work is opening in Houston’s downtown core and dense west Houston submarket. Is the company interested in the city’s suburbs? We think there’s significant opportunity in the suburbs. People are returning to suburbs. We’re also seeing a significant amount of people working remotely. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of people working more than four days a week remotely went up by about 30 percent. We see that trend only increasing over time.
What can we expect from Life Time Work in Houston this year? We are actively looking at other markets in Houston. Because (those deals) are in motion, it’s hard for us to talk about them. There are other places we are looking at.
When do you roughly think those deals will be finalized? In the near-term, or within the year? More like in six months to a year.
Portions of this interview have been edited for clarity and length.