WeWork “soft-launched” their Emeryville office at the Emeryville Towers complex last month. They stepped in to take over the space from Regus, a competitor, who attempted a coworking office about two years ago. WeWork has rapidly expanded in metropolitan areas like ours as they look to get a foothold in the growing “shared workplace” market.
Founded in 2010 in New York City, the opportunity arrived when more independent contractors and small entrepreneurs armed with laptops were looking for spaces beyond the coffee shops with free wifi they were accustomed to.
The shared workplace model allows entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups and small businesses access to an office space without the overhead and cost of leasing, furnishing, utilities and managing an office.
WeWork also provides office infrastructure for larger enterprises that allows them to rapidly expand. WeWork hopes it can appeal to some of Emeryville’s local corporations as they outgrow their facilities.
Northern California Senior Public Affairs Manager Samantha Roxas and Senior Community Manager Teresa Lucas provided a tour of the facility and insights into their plans for their Emeryville location.
We love this location,” Lucas noted pointing to the 360 degree, three-bridge, waterfront views it enjoys. “[The WeWork model] really democratizes access to work spaces like this to those that can’t immediately afford it or don’t want to sign a ten year lease,” added Roxas.
The shared office model is a constantly evolving one and WeWork is at the forefront of anticipating the direction it is going in every market. WeWork uses a “council” of ten or so members that helps its locations understand how each facility can improve and better cater to their particular clientele. “They tell us what they like … and what they don’t like,” Lucas noted. “We take their feedback back to our teams and communicate what we need to do to constantly improve.”
Amenities include bookable conference rooms, printers, mail services, a welcoming receptionist, and even craft beer taps for happy hour. They even offer a wellness room for brief naps and meditation. Much of the access to membership features can be administered through a sophisticated mobile app.
Access is an important feature of the Emeryville location which enjoys convenience from the major highways, ample parking, an Emery Go-Round stop, a nearby Ford GoBike station and, hopefully one day, a public ferry.
Their flexible membership options offer various “tiers’ that fit different member needs and allow them to grow. They range from $370/mo. for their ‘Hot Desks’ option to $1410/mo. for a private office.
WeWork is looking ahead at a more ‘official’ launch in the future but wanted to fill the space and get a better feel for the vibe of the Emeryville market. “We want to establish ourselves first and then reach out to community stakeholders,” said Roxas.
WeWork is offering a 50% discount to new Emeryville members through July 1st. You can lock in a membership or schedule a book a private tour through their website.