Roy Gilbert

What WeWork’s implosion means for other coworking spaces

WeWork’s coworking space The Maxwell is located in the former Maxwell House coffee warehouse in the Arts District. The coworking giant WeWork has indefinitely postponed its IPO after investors decided it wasn’t as valuable as they’d thought. The news follows the ouster last week of CEO Adam Neumann, whose erratic behavior had raised concerns among shareholders. Neumann boasted that he was in the business of changing world consciousness — and cities. He hired famed Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, and a designer named Dror Benshetrit to lead his “future cities initiative.” At the US Conference of Mayors last year, Neumann told the audience, “You have to reinvent how people live, you have to rezone, you have to reassess, and you have to reinvent how people work.” WeWork’s downtown Culver City office space. Photo courtesy WeWork Well, the WeWork bubble has now burst. So where does that leave WeWork and coworking space? Marissa Gluck works in digital strategy and marketing, and she says that WeWork positioned itself as a tech company, however, “essentially what WeWork was doing is engaging in real estate arbitrage” by subdividing properties and renting it out in short-term leases. “In an economic downturn or a recession the first thing to go would be some of these short term leases. For the single entrepreneur, the person who is able to work from home or have a home office or go to a coffee shop, it’s much easier to spend five dollars for free Wi-Fi at a coffee shop […]

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