Business idea: nightclub and startup company incubator/co-work space

A friend is an investment banker helping restructure the ownership and financing of a group of nightclubs. She said that nightclubs own or rent valuable real estate that may be used as few as three nights per week. There is a certain amount of revenue from rental for private events, but that is also mostly in the evenings.

Some of the highest profit margins in the real estate world are at co-working spaces, which may also be characterized as “startup company incubators.” Given the tendency of people to work during the daytime and party at night, why not use the otherwise vacant nightclub real estate during the daytime as a co-working space? Put in some crazy fast WiFi, have a side room where the Aeron chairs can be stashed, and then offer people co-work space at a discount if they’ll agree to vacate by 7 pm.

Where’s the flaw in this idea?

11 Comments

  1. Colin Summers

    January 8, 2016 @ 1:26 pm

    1

    Cleaning costs. The smell of stale beer is not conducive to coding. Programmers don’t like getting kicked out at 7pm so that you can start setting up your nightclub.

  2. philg

    January 8, 2016 @ 1:34 pm

    2

    Excellent points, Colin, but isn’t there a market for non-software startups? Laptop+Wifi+desk is the capital equipment required for a lot of businesses these days, no? What if the startup is doing something related to health care administration, for example, such as medical billing? Or is a startup government contractor? Customers for these startups will be working mostly 9-5, right?

  3. Anthony C. Roberts

    January 8, 2016 @ 1:37 pm

    3

    What real startup (or most private companies for that matter) can agree to vacate their offices by 7pm? A hybrid nightclub/government building… now we’re on to something.

  4. Anonymous

    January 8, 2016 @ 1:43 pm

    4

    Liability concerns? When the drunk revelers pass out and hit their head on the bathroom sink you can bet that those responsible for the space will be among those dragged into court.

  5. lvl

    January 8, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

    5

    No flaws, just a little maintenance costs, but that could be adapted with a few plastic covers, guards, etc…

    But what’s with all the commenters’ startup ideas? This seems like the right idea for municipal offices: 1) 100% vacated by 7pm. 2) Best real estate in any town/city. 3) Always need revenue… 4) To commenter #4 – Hardly any concerns of dragging those responsible for space to court if the space is the court/police/public administrators?

  6. PN

    January 8, 2016 @ 2:30 pm

    6

    Isn’t this kind of done already in some public spaces like museums? Many public places like art galleries and aquariums rent out the place for the evening to private events, weddings, and cocktail parties. I think Philip’s idea is only novel insofar as it tries to turn something that is primarily a party space at night into a work space during the day. Many versions of work space (perhaps a stretch for the Museum of Natural History …) are available as a party space at night.

  7. J. Peterson

    January 8, 2016 @ 4:15 pm

    7

    You should ask JWZ. The former Netscape/Mozilla developer now owns the DNA Lounge in San Francisco.

  8. davep

    January 8, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

    8

    How many nightclubs look like cube farms (or vice versa)?

    If the office space is folding tables, what would the value be over just staying home?

  9. Zakaria

    January 8, 2016 @ 6:12 pm

    9

    Yup municipal office at day an nightclub at night, what could be gone wrong! 😉

  10. Milton Friedman

    January 8, 2016 @ 10:02 pm

    10

    How about a sports lounge instead of night club? Add some ping-pong tables, billiards tables, dart boards, and some 80s arcade games … and you’re half way to a dotcom startup. By day the bar could be stocked with juices and sodas, at night its full of beer and wine coolers. During week nights, when lounges are usually quiet, you could host meet+greet booze+schmooze press events announcing all the wonderful plans of the latest startup tenants.

    I know a CEO/founder who has crashed and burned 3 startups. His main talent seems to be raising funding, converting expensive prime office space into idle adult play rooms (ping pong, billiards, etc), and hosting parties for staff+investors+press. He’d be a great tenant.

  11. James

    January 9, 2016 @ 3:12 pm

    11

    Re: Cleaning Costs

    I worked at several nightclubs as a bar-back while in school. Nightclubs (at least the ones that employed me) bring in a contracted cleaning crew every night.

    Programmers would only need to vacate at 7pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so I think this is an agreeable condition.

    Storage of the tables and chairs could be a problem depending on the space, and the same goes for lighting, decor, and access to electricity.

    Finally, nightclubs typically have an organized crime/money laundering element to them… Not sure if this is a positive or a negative.

    The idea is worth investigating.

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