Co-working giant WeWork is bringing its services to downtown Durham.
The New York City-based company, which provides co-working space to companies and individuals, will be taking up the fourth and fifth floors at the under-construction One City Center, the 27-story office and residential tower that has changed Durham’s skyline.
WeWork will take up more than 58,000 square feet in One City Center, 110 Corcoran St., and is expected to begin operating in the fall of this year, according to WeWork spokeswoman Alyssa Botts.
"We are excited to expand our presence in North Carolina with our first Durham location, WeWork 110 Corcoran St.,” WeWork’s General Manager for the Southeast Bobby Condon said in a statement. “Durham is truly a unique, innovative city in the heart of North Carolina, and 110 Corcoran St. reflects our commitment to the community and its creators who are looking for a new way to work.”
WeWork will now be the largest office-space tenant at the $88 million office and condo tower. Duke University, which was the first tenant the project announced, has an agreement to lease 55,000 square feet in the building.
Last year, WeWork announced that it would be expanding to Raleigh, leasing space in a 10-story office tower being built on the corner of Hillsborough Street and Glenwood Avenue. WeWork is also opening a location in Charlotte at 615 South College, a new office tower in the city’s uptown district.
Co-working spaces have grown in popularity in recent years as a viable solution for small companies that don’t want to spend highly and commit to years-long building leases, as well as for freelance workers who don’t have a permanent office.
The company, started in New York City in 2010, now has 175,000 participants at more than 200 locations, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and Miami, and in 16 countries. It is valued at more than $20 billion and was the fifth most-valuable startup in the world, according to Bloomberg.
The funding WeWork has received from venture capitlists – including $3.1 billion from Japan’s SoftBank Group – has allowed it to compete more aggressively with competitors for tenants over the past year. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that WeWork had been offering generous deals in 2017 to land new tenants and lure users away from other co-working spaces.
The co-working concept already has a track record in Durham, as Capitol Broadcasting-owned American Underground has created a thriving community of tech startups in downtown by offering affordable office space and helpful services for young companies. The 269 startups and smaller companies based at American Underground raised $39.4 million in 2017, a record for the startup community.
American Underground also launched a smaller co-working space in the Kress Building downtown last year, aimed at small businesses and freelancers rather than high-growth tech startups.
Geoff Durham, president and CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the addition of WeWork to the city, adding that American Underground’s growth “highlights the need for an additional layer of co-working spaces.”
Durham thinks that the two co-working communities will compliment each other going forward.
“One of Durham’s key attributes is the creative and collaborative nature of our businesses,” Durham said. “The WeWork model captures this and provides flexible workspaces with a low barrier to entry. We see AU and WeWork as complimentary pieces that will benefit each other in Durham’s innovative environment.”