ESQ. Suites is an Attorneys-Only Coworking Space
Sometimes the best idea for a new business comes from solving a problem that you yourself face. Such was the case with real estate attorney Alejandro E. Jordan. After working for most of a decade for Becker & Poliakoff, he struck out on his own in 2013, sharing office space in Coral Gables with another law firm. Then the building was sold, and the law firm decided to break up.
“Instead of panicking, I saw this as an opportunity,” says Jordan. As he’d already realized, a solo practitioner faces steep upfront expenses: Deposits for a rented space, personal guarantees for the lease, hiring a receptionist, furnishing the suite, etc. Sharing space with another attorney or small firm is more economical, especially one that’s already set up.
So, Jordan decided to take a gamble. In early 2019 he leased the south side of the 15th floor of downtown’s prestigious Alhambra Tower building: 6,000 square feet with 23 offices. At the time, he had only three attorneys ready to join him. “It was a huge risk,” he says.
That was in April. But by August 2019 Jordan had rented half the offices, and by December had commitments for 90 percent of the space. “It was by word of mouth in the beginning,” he says. “Then I started doing an email marketing campaign, addressed to lawyers in Miami.”
The proposition was compelling: ESQ. Suites was created as a shared workspace – with the usual shared receptionist, conference rooms, coffee lounge, mailroom, office equipment, etc. – but only for lawyers. A place to talk shop, share information and refer work cases to each other.
“The secret sauce to our business model is the niche – exclusivity to lawyers. You’re not next to a travel agent or a business startup. You’re sharing with like-minded individuals, and not all of them do what you do, so there are hundreds of thousands of dollars in business referrals,” says Jordan.
“For those of us rainmakers that are consistently able to develop our own portfolio of clients, developing collaboration is the other wing of the bird,” says attorney M. Christina Del-Valle. “As a solo practitioner at ESQ. Suites, my real estate and art law practice is enhanced by having, right next to me, attorneys that bring expertise in, for example, commercial leasing, construction law, commercial litigation, copyright, etc.,” she says. “Having accomplished colleagues at elbow-length is not small change.”
Del-Valle says she was also attracted by the amenities at ESQ., including the upscale interiors, state of the art equipment and, last but not least, the views.
“It’s unheard of to find 23 enclosed offices with windows in a 6,000-square foot footprint,” says Jordan. “That was due to the unique [triangular] shape of the building. Sometimes I think our success is largely due to the fact that we could get so many windows.”
It didn’t hurt either that the space had been previously built out to high standards by the Rockefeller Group, which wanted to relocate at least some of their people from New York to Coral Gables in the early 2010s, before changing their mind and moving back north.