The Mark Cuban of Real Estate?
New York-based Adam Neumann, a mesmerizing new figure in business, is reinventing the real estate industry by leasing floors in ordinary buildings and turning them into sensational creative space. And now he's bringing his concept and energy to DC.
We snapped Adam at a Bisnow event two months ago in Las Vegas. His firm, WeWork, has already taken NYC by storm, occupying over 1M SF there, with more expansion on the way. On Friday, we got an insider's look at the Chinatown office it just opened. Larger-than-life Adam, who's a Kabballah devotee and also invented trendy kid's brand Egg Baby, started WeWork in 2009.
At Douglas Development's 718 7th St, we snapped Carl Pierre, who's been tapped as city lead for the firm's two new offices—the 21k SF at the Chinatown building, and the 32k SF it will soon occupy at Douglas' Wonder Bread Building in Shaw. WeWork rents desk space and offices to groups large and small, and while it typically caters to the tech crowd, tenants of all industries have been touring their spaces. Carl tells us that in NYC, tech firms such as Reddit and Buzzfeed like the concept, but so too do blue-chip financial firms like American Express.
WeWork has floors two through four at 718 7th, though the third and fourth are still being built-out. The walls are lined with private, light-filled offices, and rows of desk space line the middle. (Though that canine office mascot here seems to be comfortable anywhere.) Costs are monthly, and range anywhere from $325/month at one of the "hot desks" to $3,300/month for four folks to rent a private office. Carl says tours were being given around the clock all week, and "by April, we'll have a waiting list for both DC locations." And the demographics run the gamut; Carl says members range in age from 21 to folks in their 50s.
Here's Carl in one of the breakout rooms, which members can use to take a breather or even work on breathing exercises—Carl says WeWork will bring in meditation experts. The conference rooms have a cozy feel, too, but they're still equipped with the necessary hardware and tech specs. WeWork didn't skimp on furniture, as much of it comes from West Elm and Restoration Hardware.
Pretty sweet amenities include a full, modern kitchen, with a beer tap. Deals are being arranged with firms like Zipcar and Washington Sports Club, Carl says, and offering health insurance for members could be down the line.
The Wonder Bread Building, where the firm is currently building out its space and hopes to include features like a beer garden on the porch. Last week was a big one for WeWork, Carl tells us; in addition to opening the Chinatown spot, two locations were opened in Boston. It also has outposts in Chicago, LA, San Francisco, and Seattle. If you've got a cool crib you'd like us to check out, let our DC reporter Chris Baird know. And stay tuned—we'll soon be holding our DC Creative Office Revolution event on March 31. Venue TBA.