WeWork, the three-year-old shared workspace / incubator company, is on track to be the fifth largest office tenant in New York next year, according to Adam Neumann, co-founder and CEO of the company.
The company is considering a 500,000 s/f lease at the Brooklyn Navy yard, Neumann told attendees at an event hosted by Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate last week.
It is also close to a deal to lease the entire 300,000 s/f of space in Rudin Management’s 110 Wall St., according to the New York Post. 110 Wall has been vacant since Hurricane Sandy last year.
WeWork offers small companies office space that features not only copy machines and conference rooms, but also organic coffee, craft beer and weekly events. The company’s website lists 11 locations in New York City, three in San Francisco and two in Los Angeles.
If WeWork’s plans to move into the Navy Yard go ahead, transportation is an issue that will have to be addressed, Neumann said. “Water and bicycles are the two lowest-hanging fruits,” he said. He also predicted shuttles running along the Brooklyn Waterfront in the near future. “It’s all in the making.”
Neumann appeared at the CURE event on a panel that also included MaryAnne Gilmartin, CEO of Forest City Ratner, and Jed Walentas of Two Trees development.
But the young entrepreneur didn’t hesitate to call the approach developers and landlords take to real estate “old-fashioned” and out of step with the needs of a young, creative workforce.
“We as planners, architects, designers of the future of this country and this world have not yet moved to the next level of real estate, where we forget thinking about it really as real estate and really curate the office and living environments of the future,” he said.
The atmosphere was friendly, but Gilmartin stuck up for her profession.
“I don’t think it’s fair put it on developers,” she said. “It’s easy to pick on developers. … The truth of it is, to finance someone like Adam isn’t easy.”