The largest office space occupiers in the Seattle area include Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and now, WeWork.
The co-working giant continues to expand its footprint in the region and by the end of 2019 expects to have at least 19 Seattle-area locations, GeekWire has learned.
WeWork has leased space for several new locations throughout Seattle and is expanding existing offices, building off a supercharged growth pace that started last year when the company more than doubled its presence in the region, ending 2018 with 12 locations.
WeWork officials said the total footprint of all its leased real estate in the Seattle area has risen to 1.7 million square feet, up from 900,000 square feet as of last summer.
The company calls itself fourth largest office occupier in the Seattle area and its presence could expand even faster with ongoing lease negotiations for other locations.
WeWork has already opened or leased an extra floor this year at three existing locations: 500 Yale, Westlake Tower and 925 4th Avenue. And WeWork has signed leases for two new offices so far in 2019:
- In the trendy Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, WeWork will open an office in October at 1525 11th Ave. The five-floor office will have 1,350 desks.
- In the heart of downtown, a new five-floor office at 1201 3rd Ave. with 1,900 desks will open in August.
WeWork opened its first Seattle location just over five years ago at 500 Yale. Gina Phillips, WeWork’s vice president and general manager for the Northwest, said the company opened up in Seattle with “very few staff and no playbooks.” Since then, WeWork has grown rapidly, and earlier this year “expanded into the fourth and final floor of our original Northwest location with playbooks and support galore. In many ways, it’s a case study for how far we’ve come,” Phillips said.
The Capitol Hill location is an example of WeWork moving beyond the core downtown area and into some of the city’s popular neighborhoods. WeWork locations are also coming to Seattle’s Ballard, University District and Queen Anne neighborhoods.
WeWork considers the Seattle area one of the most dynamic markets in the world because of a combination of some of the fastest-growing companies in the tech industry, a strong startup ecosystem and an ever-expanding roster of out-of-town companies needing space immediately. WeWork’s Seattle presence is far greater than its footholds in other Pacific Northwest cities. Though Seattle trails New York and San Francisco in the number of WeWork locations, it is ahead of cities such as Boston and Chicago.
For most of its lifetime, WeWork has been associated with providing small, flexible office spaces for startups getting off the ground and companies not yet ready to commit to a permanent office. But today, WeWork says medium-sized and enterprise companies make up 80 percent of its total membership in the Pacific Northwest.
WeWork has also branched out into housing through WeLive, with a location opening in Seattle next year. It’s getting into retail through WeMRKT, a series of small shops in WeWork offices that sell products made by WeWork customers.
The company expects to open its second event space in Seattle, though it wouldn’t say where. The first is at the Holyoke office.
“2019 is a year of growth, but it’s also a year of impact and increasing our value proposition to members and the city,” Phillips said.
WeWork is one of the world’s most valuable companies, with a valuation of $47 billion after a recent $2 billion cash infusion from frequent investor SoftBank. The company has more than 10,000 employees worldwide, per Bloomberg. It reportedly plans to hire 6,000 more people this year, though it did cut about 300 employees recently.
WeWork now has roughly 425 locations across 100 cities in 27 countries. It has 400,000 members, and 30 percent of Fortune 500 companies are WeWork members.