Does WeWork work?
WeWork is set to become London’s largest private tenant after signing a number of new leases. The co-working start-up has now taken more than 2.2 million square feet of office space across 30 buildings in the UK capital, according to data from CoStar.
“When WeWork takes occupation of all the leases it has signed – including its 285,000 sq ft pre-let at Two Southbank Place in 2018, in what will be the New York-based firm’s largest global office – [it] will have overtaken the likes of HSBC, Barclays, and the BBC … [and] will sit behind only the UK government as the second biggest occupier of offices,” CoStar says.
The company’s business model is based upon acquiring space, refitting, and then subletting it to largely tech-oriented businesses and start-ups, a strategy which appears to have had a detrimental impact on vacancies in London’s smaller buildings, notes CoStar. Some commentators express concerns over the model’s sustainability, questioning how it will perform during a downturn.
In the US, WeWork is looking at education and will open a private school inside a New York City WeWork next year as part of a pilot programme with seven five-to-eight year-old students.