Coworking wars: WeWork opens, intensifying Triangle competition among 20+ providers

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DURHAM – Move over American Underground and other coworking spaces across the Triangle. There’s a new coworking space in town.

In fact, it’s literally just around the corner.

WeWork, a global network of shared office space, has just opened for business at One City Center at 110 Concoran Street.

The 58,000-square-foot office occupies the fourth and fifth floors of the newly constructed 28-story building, boasting sweeping views of downtown Durham and the iconic American Tobacco tower.

The view from WeWork’s fifth floor community space.

“We are excited to expand our presence in North Carolina with our first Durham location,” said WeWork Southeast General Manager Bobby Condon.

“Our mission is to establish and foster an environment where our members and local community have the physical space and support they need to create a life, not just a living.”

Photo shoot: Inside WeWork’s posh new digs in Durham

The startup already has an office space in Charlotte, and another is slated to open Raleigh in May, which means more competition for Raleigh-based HQ Raleigh and other coworking spaces across the Triangle.

Startups, emerging companies and others can now select from a wide variety of offerings in space and amenities across the Triangle. In addition to WeWork, American Underground and HQ Raleigh, other providers include:

  • BioLabs, Durham
  • Spaces
  • First Flight Venture Center
  • The Frontier
  • Coworking Station, Apex
  • Coworking Station, Holly Springs
  • Mothership
  • Invictus
  • Regus
  • Gridworks
  • Cary Innovation Center
  • Entrepreneurial Development Center at NCSU
  • Fuquay Coworking
  • HOTTovation, Morrisville
  • Loading Dock
  • Pinkubator
  • Sphere in Fuquay Varina
  • Taygra
  • Think Tank
  • Wake Forest Coworking
  • Wireless Research Center
  • Launch Chapel Hill

From free kombucha to industrial-style phone booths

Decked out with cushy mid-century mod furniture and industrial pendant lighting, WeWork’s new digs can accommodate up to 1000 members. It also offers a slew of amenities – including two kitchens, private offices, comfortable nooks, meeting rooms, lounges, quiet phone booths, and space for events.

WRAL TechWire photo

Industrial-style phone booths offer stylish privacy.

Other perks: free kombucha, fruit water, coffee, espresso and beer on tap.

“We truly believe that everyone has a place at WeWork,” said Condon. “Our members are creators – across all industries and all stages of growth – who run the gamut from entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small businesses, to middle-market and Fortune 500 Corporations.”

In fact, Enterprise members (companies with 1,000 or more employees) account for approximately 25 percent of WeWork’s total membership base. “This is our fastest growing membership segment, and we see a lot of demand in this arena,” said Condon.

They also don’t seem too fussed about being located next door to its competitors, American Underground, which is owned by WRAL TechWire parent Capitol Broadcasting.

“We see our ‘competition’ as work itself,” Condon said. “We intend to continue planting and growing our roots here in Durham.”

Already reaching out

To that end, WeWork has already started to get involved in giving back to the local community.

It recently committed $25,000 through local startup NeedsList to help those affected in North Carolina by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.

Another priority is creating a healthy and sustainable environmentally friendly office. A few months back, it made national headlines when it announced it was going meat-free. As part of the policy, the company no longer serves meat at employee events or reimburses them for meals that include red meat, poultry and pork.

Its company’s founder Miguel McKelvey opined that the company, which is valued at roughly $20 billion and operates in more than 20 countries, could save an estimated 16.7 billion gallons of water, 445.1 million pounds of CO2 emissions and over 15 million animals by 2023.

In the meantime, however, the company is concentrating on getting settled in its new home.

“We’ve just scratched the surface here,” said Condon.



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