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September 20, 2016 Comments (0) Views: 1308 Fall 2016, Real Estate, Short Stories

Office Space Envy: LWP Group

An art gallery, event space, and Airbnb dwelling merge under one roof in Barrio Logan

LWP Group’s office is so chock-full of artwork, antiques, and knickknacks from Mexico that a visitor notices something different every time they stop by the 7,000-square-foot-space on National Avenue. The aesthetic seems out of character for a real estate developer’s headquarters: With an open-floor office, functioning art galley, mini shipping container park, and even an Airbnb rental all under one roof, it’s anything but traditional.

Founder Greg Strangman is responsible for revamping the Pearl Hotel, opening Tacos Perla in North Park, and bringing boutique apartments to Barrio Logan, so it’s only natural he’d build a funky office space to work in. Strangman says his redevelopment approach is to invest in a neighborhood’s potential and focus on what could be, versus what’s already there—and that he felt the time was right to extend this concept across the border. This fall, he’s opening Tijuana’s first boutique hotel and plans to bring his Community@ apartment complexes to the city.

  • Hang time: Bikes that are available for LWP Group staff and One Bunk guests serve as a suspended art installation in the lobby when not in use. The cables were a random find on Amazon.
  • On display: The complex has an in-house gallery that showcases the work of street artists from Baja in vintage gold-leaf frames.
  • No walls: Like many contemporary CEOs, Greg Strangman doesn’t isolate himself from his employees by using a corner office, and opts for an open workspace instead. The shelf carries trinkets and art pieces that will be part of the decor of the new Tijuana hotel.
  • Warm welcome: A message in Spanish to “make it a great day” greets visitors to LWP Group. It’s become the company’s de facto motto, and Strangman likes to close emails with the sentiment.
  • Let the light in: Metal security bars on the front door and windows were replaced with colorful stained glass. Strangman says he chose Barrio Logan for its history, culture, and sense of community.
  • Don’t throw it out: The previous occupant was a welding and fabrication shop, and the owner left behind an old safe that belonged to the family who started Filippi’s Pizza Grotto. It was incorporated into the design.
  • Containing excitement: The backyard event space is lined with shipping containers that can be used as seating areas or to temporarily house artwork. The green-and-white awning, which lights up at night, is made from recycled plastic bottles.
  • Another man’s treasure: A vintage paleta cart became part of the decor and gets stocked for after-work events. “I love to find objects and put them back to use in other ways that they were not intentionally used for,” Strangman says.
  • Have a seat: A permanent meeting area in the backyard is housed in a refurbished shipping container. Strangman regularly hosts events here, but it’s also available to be rented out.
  • R&R: A small garden of artificial grass, succulents, and trees brings a spot of green to the industrial vibe.
  • Streetscapes: Strangman is an advocate for public art. He gives local and Mexican artists, like Gerardo Yepiz, the space to get creative.


Rent Me

Barrio Logan has been called the next North Park, and LWP Group is encouraging people to stay in the heart of it with One Bunk, a 500-square-foot Airbnb rental they built on the complex. For about $90 a night, guests have access to Cafe Moto, Salud Tacos, and La Bodega Gallery, and are supplied with Insurgente beer and a bocce ball set. One Bunk Tijuana, which is replacing Hotel Lafayette on Avenida Revolución, will have a similar look when it opens this fall.

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