WeWork’s expansion plans for its housing communities, known as WeLive buildings, haven’t met the company’s expectations, perhaps due to the fact that some tenants view it as a temporary crash pad, not a long term home.
Known for renting co-working space around the world, WeWork has been striking big deals, buying Blackstone Group’s London offices for $785 million and buying Lord & Taylor’s Manhattan flagship for $850 million, amid questions about the company’s profits and valuation, as The Real Deal reported.
Its expansion into offering housing and hotel rooms started several years ago with WeWork’s projections in 2014 forecasting that the company would operate 36 WeLive housing communities by the end of 2017. Fast forward to the present, and the company only has two such buildings: in New York and Washington, D.C., and the experience leaves something to be desired, according to Bloomberg who interviewed some former residents.
“It’s a great place to be if you’re just moving to the city, and you want to meet people, or you need a place for a couple months before you find your real apartment,” a former tenant told Bloomberg.
The main issue seems to be rents aren’t competitive enough considering the services, or lack thereof. A New York WeLive studio goes for about $3,000 and some disgruntled previous tenants say hot water shortages and inconsistent mail deliveries caused them to move out.
Yet, other residents love their life in the buildings, which have been compared to scaled up college dorms: “I get this amazing quality of life. The only thing I lack is a door and a wall,” said New York WeLive tenant Raviv Nadav to Bloomberg.
Jim Woods, head of WeLive, told Bloomberg WeWork is still pursuing the housing developments; there are plans for a new WeLive building to open in Seattle in 2020.
[Bloomberg] — E.K. Hudson