Coworking office space provider WeWork will increase more than 250 percent in the Puget Sound region this year, going from 4,320 to 16,300 desks.
Since entering the Seattle market less than five years ago, the company has gone from no space to nearly 1.7 million square feet, passing Starbucks to become the Puget Sound region’s fourth-largest occupier of office space.
More growth is coming, including the first WeWork on Seattle’s Capitol Hill at a to-be-named location.
Beyond 2019, the company “will continue to expand aggressively,” said WeWork Northwest General Manager Gina Phillips, the Business Journal’s real estate executive of the year.
The meteoric rise of WeWork raises the question of whether this rate of growth is sustainable. But, this overlooks how WeWork has expanded and how it plans to do so by adding educational programs and event spaces.
“We’re really challenging the notion there’s only so much demand,” Phillips said. “What we’re able to do with the diversity of our offering is to speak to every part of demand.”
WeWork has evolved beyond providing office space for freelancers, startups and other small companies. It operates an enterprise division for companies with 1,000 or more employees with some of them stationed at WeWorks, plus mid-sized clients with 35 or more WeWork desks. In the Northwest region (Seattle, Portland and Vancouver, British Columbia), mid-market and enterprise customers account for more than 80 percent of WeWork’s total membership.
In the Puget Sound region, the largest enterprise client has 2,000 desks. Phillips declined to name that customer, but said one enterprise company is Pinterest, which has grown from half a floor to a full floor at the Denny Triangle location.
WeWork’s growth strategy includes engaging more in civic affairs. For instance, WeWork is starting to collaborate with economic development directors to retain and attract companies, and deciding where it could offer the company’s new-to-Seattle Flatiron School and WeWork Labs.
Flatiron is a bootcamp that offers coding classes and career coaching, and WeWork Labs is a support program for startups. Labs formally opened in Seattle this week, and Flatiron is opening in January. They’re the West Coast’s first Flatiron School and Labs.
While separate entities, Phillips intentionally placed both in the same downtown Seattle building at 1411 Fourth Ave., for synergist reasons.
As Flatiron students learn to code and Labs participants grow their businesses, they’ll be in the same building with WeWork client companies. Future employees and business development opportunities will be an elevator ride away.
Article published originally via “wework” – Google News https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2018/12/14/gina-phillips-wework-executive-of-the-year.html