WeWork Closing 3 Of Its Oldest D.C. Coworking Spaces
A WeWork spokesperson confirmed to Bisnow the company is closing its Manhattan Laundry, Wonder Bread Factory and 718 Seventh St. NW locations. Popville first reported the latter two closings Wednesday, citing emails to WeWork members.
“In streamlining our portfolio towards profitable growth, we have decided to move on from WeWork's Manhattan Laundry, Wonder Bread Factory and 718 7th St. NW locations in Washington, D.C.," A WeWork spokesperson wrote in an email to Bisnow. "With numerous excellent WeWork locations in the immediate area, we look forward to providing our members with first-class, flexible space solutions. In consolidating our market footprint, we’re excited to fortify our presence with the very best of our Washington D.C. portfolio."
The company is working with members in those spaces to relocate to other WeWork locations in D.C., including 1701 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Midtown Center, 655 New York Ave. NW, 700 K St. NW and 777 Sixth St. NW.
The closings represent a reduction in WeWork's footprint and a focus on its newer spaces. The 718 Seventh St. NW location in Chinatown was its first to open in D.C. in February 2014. WeWork opened the Wonder Bread Factory Space in March 2014, and it signed the Manhattan Laundry lease in 2015. (Bisnow is a tenant at 718 Seventh St.)
Douglas Development Corp., which owns all three buildings, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Each of the buildings where WeWork is closing are renovated, historic properties, while the spaces its keeping open are largely in newer developments.
The company has been reassessing its real estate portfolio since last year's failed IPO attempt led to a sharp decrease in its valuation. WeWork in June shuttered its first-ever location in Manhattan.
The failed IPO came at a difficult time for WeWork in the D.C. market, as it had just kicked off a rapid expansion. The company signed eight D.C.-area leases totaling more than 550K SF in the nine months ending August 2019.
The coronavirus this year introduced a host of new challenges for the coworking sector, as members have the flexibility to vacate the spaces easier than traditional leases and may shy away from shared office environments during a pandemic.
WeWork has responded to the pandemic by instituting new social distancing and health safety measures, giving members expanded access and reportedly offering to slash rent for some tenants. Still, the coworking giant has reduced its workforce from more than 14,000 people last year to roughly 5,600, the Financial Times reported in July.