WeWork shuts Brooklyn location after employee gets Covid-19

Co-working firm has kept its US sites open, calling them “essential”

TRD New York /
Apr.April 03, 2020 10:29 PM
81 Prospect Street at Dumbo Heights (Credit: Google Maps)

WeWork’s location at 81 Prospect Street in Dumbo Heights (Credit: Google Maps)

WeWork has closed one of its Brooklyn locations after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, The Real Deal has learned.

Members of the co-working space at 81 Prospect Street were notified by email that the employee was last on the premises April 1 “and until further notice, [is] no longer working at the location.”

The site will be closed for cleaning until Monday, the email said. WeWork did not respond to requests for comment.

WeWork’s coronavirus case in Dumbo Heights is one of several at its New York City sites. The company has kept all its U.S. locations open throughout the pandemic — advising its tenants to maintain social-distancing rules — on the grounds that some of them operate “essential businesses.” Such businesses are exempt from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ban on going to work. WeWork has said its mail service also spares it from the order.

Some WeWork customers have called on the company to close its locations and waive membership fees while the pandemic plays out.

“They are putting all the members’ lives at risk while trying to keep their employees safe at home just to continue to profit off many small business owners,” one member told The Real Deal in an email, adding that there had been a virus case at the WeWork location where she rented space.

SoftBank’s Marcelo Claure addressed the controversy in a tweet March 18.

“We know there have been questions about WeWork’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly as it relates to WeWork spaces that have remained opened in certain cities around the world,” he wrote. “In the same way we expect certain businesses to remain open for us … we too have members counting on us to remain open so they can run their companies to generate revenue, pay their people, and continue serving their customers.”

TRD has asked the Cuomo administration if WeWork’s exemption claim is valid, but has not received a response. Co-working firms are not included on the state’s official list of essential businesses.

This week, WeWork’s major backer, Tokyo-based SoftBank, announced that it was abandoning plans to buy $3 billion in WeWork shares, a major blow for shareholders including the company’s former CEO, Adam Neumann.

The announcement coincided with reports that WeWork has been appealing to its landlords to slash its rent by as much as 30 percent as it grapples with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Write to Sylvia Varnham O’Regan at [email protected]


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Wendy Silverstein (Credit: Getty Images)

Wendy Silverstein, co-head of WeWork’s real-estate fund, is out

Wendy Silverstein, co-head of WeWork’s real-estate fund, is out
WeWork CEO Adam Neumann (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

WeWork’s side businesses are fizzling

WeWork’s side businesses are fizzling
Sarah Pontius (Credit: Union College)

Another head rolls at WeWork

Another head rolls at WeWork
(Credit: iStock)

Loophole allowed big-name landlords to get bailout funds

Loophole allowed big-name landlords to get bailout funds
The process for challenging property assessments is so antiquated, officials won’t do Zoom meetings. (iStock)

“A recipe for disaster”: Fighting property taxes in a pandemic

“A recipe for disaster”: Fighting property taxes in a pandemic
Clockwise from left: Bronx housing court at 1118 Grand Concourse, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Judge Lawrence Marks, New York Supreme Court at 60 Centre Street (Getty; Google Maps; Wikipedia; New York State Courts)

Attorneys find ways to “eject” tenants without Housing Court

Attorneys find ways to “eject” tenants without Housing Court
Cadillac Fairview CEO John Sullivan and the RCB Centre in Toronto (Google)

This Canadian office giant has a strategy for a return to work

This Canadian office giant has a strategy for a return to work
Bars, restaurants and live entertainment venues around the world are now weighing their reopening options. Some owners say they can’t cover the cost of operating at reduced capacity. (Getty)

Facing the music: Entertainment venues, restaurants weigh reopening options

Facing the music: Entertainment venues, restaurants weigh reopening options
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...