WeWork in talks to offer classroom space for NYC private schools

CEO Sandeep Mathrani says schools will be able to operate in-person but at reduced capacity

WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (iStock, Getty)
WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani (iStock, Getty)

WeWork is hitting the books this summer.

The office giant is in talks with New York City private schools to turn some offices into classrooms, WeWork CEO Sandeep Mathrani said during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” with Andrew Ross Sorkin.

Mathrani said the pandemic has given rise to the need for flexible space and pointed to the talks with private schools as one example of how WeWork’s product would find utility in this new world.

“Even schools are going beyond just thinking about it in a structured way,” he said during the TV segment. “They’re opening their minds of how to bring children back into schools.”

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If the schools were to follow through on the offer, they would be able to operate at reduced density while holding in-person classes in WeWork locations around the city. Mathrani said WeWork would extend similar offers to public schools “if we’re able to have that conversation.”

The idea of WeWork getting into school space comes after the company’s private elementary school shutters. Last October, the company announced the 2019 to 2020 school year would be WeGrow’s last year in operations as WeWork focuses on its shared office business. The company is also mulling a sale of its co-living business, WeLive.

WeWork’s recommitment to its fundamental business of shared-office space came after CEO Adam Neumann stepped down following the company’s botched initial public offering last September. [CNBC] — Erin Hudson