Talking business: Rahim Amidi, TENTEN

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Rahim Amidi, co-founder of US brand TENTEN, talks to SAN about providing all-inclusive properties that cater to new ways of living and working.

• Can you give us a brief account of your background and how TENTEN came about?
"I am originally from Iran and moved to the US in the 1970s. My brother, Saeed Amidi, and I are technology investors, serial entrepreneurs, and seasoned executives with over 35 years of experience in early-stage venture capital, as well as commercial real estate development and management. Together we co-founded the Amidi Group (www.amidigroup.com) in 1980, a conglomerate of privately-held business enterprises consisting of several domestic and international entities with manufacturing, distribution, trading, retail, and real estate holdings. For the past 35 years, we’ve chaired and spearheaded the operations and management of a number of the Amidi Group entities, growing the aggregate value of its assets under management to more than $2 billion."

"TENTEN came about when my brother and I saw a need in the market for buildings with flexible leases where professionals could live, work, and socialise within their communities. Our experience from having created our Plug and Play and Hollywood Production Center communities was also influential. Being a landlord is more than just buildings and space when your goal is focused on creating a community. A community is about both the tangible and intangible services, features, and overall value you provide your occupants. For Plug and Play, we were able to create a community designed specifically for early-stage and startup technology companies. Similarly, Hollywood Production Center was designed for the unique needs of individuals and companies in the entertainment industry. In both cases, we provide much more than just office space. Our included services and amenities become an extension of our real estate offerings, and in turn, draw in more occupants who share similar needs. The occupants at our communities become one peer group and that leads to new relationships, collaborations, partnerships, and resource sharing opportunities which is the essence of a true community. Because TENTEN was entitled as a live/work property, we simply used the same community-building formula to bring everything, meaning an all-encompassing lifestyle solution, under one roof."

"While each brand continues to expand globally, Amidi Group is simultaneously growing its US real estate holdings with several notable projects in the development pipeline including Phase II of TENTEN Wilshire, TENTEN Hollywood, and TENTEN Sunnyvale. The TENTEN brand pioneered the Live/Work/Play culture which is now becoming an even bigger commodity among the current work from home needs."

• What was behind your thinking to create properties that combine ‘live/work/play’ spaces under one roof rather than in separate buildings?
"My thinking to create an all-inclusive property that encompasses live/work/play is to create a community where tenants have all necessities at their convenience; the necessities of home, the necessities of an office, and the necessities to have fun and enjoy their leisure time. Seamless access to things like printing, copying, meeting space in the business centre, screening and multi-media rooms, pool, networking events, and state of the art gym equipment all in one property. Again, given our experience with Plug and Play and Hollywood Production Center where we created communities for the technology and entertainment industries, we realised that there is value in consolidating where people live and work into one place. Their expenses go down, their efficiency increases, the eliminate the need to commute to/from work, and they do this all in an environment that has been designed specifically for them and their entire lifestyle."

• In terms of revenue generation - are the live/work/play elements self-sustaining, or do they depend on each other for a property to be successful?
"Yes, they are self-sustaining and successful."

• Who is your target customer base and how does it vary between locations?
"Our target customer base is professionals from all different types of industries. The customer base varies depending on locations because of the different sectors each area is known for. Because TENTEN Wilshire is in Los Angeles, a vast and diverse economy, we are ideal for professionals from a variety of industries such as media, gaming, entertainment, music, fashion, technology, legal, finance, advertising, sales, marketing, PR, real estate, government and professional services. In Sunnyvale, it is mainly tech and startup entrepreneurs and professionals since it is in the heart of Silicon Valley."

• How has the pandemic affected the way you operate your properties and your customers’ behaviours? Would it affect the design of future properties?
"At TENTEN Wilshire, because we are built and have been operating as a true live/work community since 2008, we are seeing more interest in people considering to live and work under one roof with other professional people like themselves, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has forced us into a remote working culture. As a venture capitalist, new technologies are always being pitched to me for consideration to add to current and future projects."

• What are your roll-out plans for TENTEN and where do you see the brand in five year’s time?
"By 2025, we hope to have more than 1,500 units operating under the TENTEN brand in the West Coast. The TENTEN concept of Live-Work-Play started 13 years ago at the 1010 Wilshire location with 227 units and we have been in the successful operation of the model since. We have also opened TENTEN Glendale (111 N. Louise) two years ago with 65 units. The second phase of TENTEN Wilshire which is adjacent (across the street) from TENTEN Wilshire in Downtown Los Angeles will open in March 2021 with 376 units and will boast the largest rooftop in the US (two acres) with additional amenities including a restaurant and bar, coffee shop, a 2,000 square foot outdoor balcony/patio, convenience store, theatre room, spa and fitness area, business Center and shared workspaces, offices and meeting rooms, and flexible event space."

"In our pipeline we also have TENTEN Glendale 2 which is being called TENTEN Campus and that alone will have 220 units and the project is planned to be open for occupancy in January 2023. Also to be finished before 2025 is a 200-unit project in Hollywood located at 1149 Gower Street. In the same timeframe we have a 200-unit in Oceanside, California. Together, with our existing units, properties currently under construction, and additional projects in the construction pipeline, we plan to have a total of over 1,500 units open and running under the TENTEN brand on the West Coast by the year 2025."

 

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