WeWork calls time on coliving venture

Sara Kirsch Sara Kirsch Uploaded 27 July 2021

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US: WeWork has announced that it has relinquished management of the two properties in its coliving brand, WeLive.

The two properties, located in Manhattan and Virginia's Crystal City neighbourhood, have been turned back over to the buildings’ owners, Rudin Management and JBG SMITH.

A spokesman for WeWork said: "While WeWork will no longer be operating the WeLive space at these locations, WeWork is incredibly grateful to have been a part of the WeLive NYC and Crystal City communities and is excited for their future success under Rudin Management and JBG SMITH’s continued leadership, respectively,"

The Crystal City location, which opened in May 2016, was turned over to JBG SMITH in April and has since been taken over by Common. The Crystal City location was opened in a former office building and included a coworking element, which closed in January.

CEO of Common, Brad Hargreaves, said: "We're so thrilled to have a presence here and bring Common's brand to Arlington."

The management of the Manhattan location, which opened in January 2016, was turned over to Rudin in June. WeWork continues to operate the coworking area of the building, only turning over the coliving element.

A Rudin spokesperson said: "We recently finalized an agreement with WeWork to assume all management responsibilities and operations for its existing coliving community at 110 Wall Street.”

The Manhattan location is also in a former office building that was heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy. In 2016, Rudin spent $160 million renovating the 27-story building, dedicating 21 floors to coliving, before putting the building on the market in 2019.

This announcement comes after a difficult few years for the WeLive brand. When the brand launched in 2016, the company predicted that WeLive would be wildly successful, with predictions that WeLive would bring in 21 per cent of the company’s predicted revenue in 2018 with more than 34,000 residents.

However, by late 2016, WeLive officials decided not to open more locations until the brand was “10 times better” according to WeWork east coast general manager, Dave McLaughlin. The company resolved to only open new locations in ground-up developments.

Despite these standards, the company never opened another location. The company signed a deal for a Seattle location in 2017, but the deal fell through in 2019, the same year of WeWork’s failed IPO.

In March of this year, the company attempted to go public again with a Starwood Capital-backed special purpose acquisition company. The deal, which is expected to close in the next few months, was valued at $9 billion.

Additionally, the pandemic hit the company and the entire coliving sector hard. In June 2020, Bloomberg reported that WeWork was considering ending WeLive.

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