WeWork takes The Stage

WeWork is to unveil its next act at Cain Hoy Enterprises’s The Stage, EC2.The $20bn (£15bn) co-working firm has agreed terms to lease around 240,000 sq ft at the £750m scheme in Shoreditch, which is being developed by a Cain Hoy-led consortium that includes Vanke, MG Properties, Galliard Homes and Investec Structured Property Finance.The deal, in which WeWork has agreed to pay rent of more than £65 per sq ft, will mean the scheme is fully let two years prior to completion.

Part of the space let by The Stage is being considered as a potential first European base for WeLive, the firm’s co-living brand.WeLive, which currently operates at only two locations – in New York and Washington DC – offers micro-flats that can be rented to WeWork members on short-term leases from one day to one year.Patrick Nelson, executive vice president of real estate at WeWork, said: “WeWork continues to grow, and operates successfully across Europe. We’re also excited about launching WeLive, our community-based residential offering, around the globe. At this time, we do not have an announcement on specific WeLive sites in London.”

A WeLive presence at The Stage would benefit from its location next door to Amazon’s new 600,000 sq ft London headquarters at Brookfield Property Partners and ENPAM’s Principal Place, EC2, which can accommodate more than 5,000 staff.In 2015, WeWork was in talks over a deal to launch a WeLive at Canary Wharf Group’s New District (formerly known as Wood Wharf), E14. However, the talks did not progress.The only other letting at The Stage is to US gym operator Equinox, which has agreed to take 31,000 sq ft.The development incorporates the remains of Shakespeare’s 16th century Curtain Theatre, where it is thought Romeo and Juliet was first performed. A 220-seat theatre will open on the site of the original theatre along with a visitor centre for viewing the artefacts that are uncovered during development.The Stage also includes a 37-storey residential tower with 412 flats, of which 40% have already been sold.

The deal marks the next phase in WeWork’s explosive growth in London. In June, the provider had acquired or was in negotiation on almost 2m sq ft of office space in the city, according to Knight Frank.WeWork announced in June that it was to open the largest co-working space in the world at Almacantar’s Two Southbank Place, SE1, after it agreed to take more than 280,000 sq ft at the building.Nelson said last week that WeWork was only just at the beginning of its takeover of the London office market.He said: “The biggest issue that I have right now is that we don’t have enough desks to satisfy customer demand.”“We have 15,000 members in London. We’re 90% full and see that we’re really at the very beginning. We doubled last year. We will double this year and we will double next year.“The real estate market is slow to move, and this is filling up a gap that is focused on the end user.

 What is WeLive?

WeLive is pitched as a “new way of living built upon community, flexibility, and a fundamental belief that we are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with”.WeWork’s co-living business seeks to “challenge traditional apartment living through physical spaces that foster meaningful relationships”.It is operating currently in only two locations, both of which opened in April last year, in Manhattan, New York; and Crystal City, just outside Washington, DC.Residents rent on a day-by-day or month-by-month basis and have access to mailrooms, laundry rooms that double as bars and event spaces, communal kitchens, roof decks and hot tubs.In New York, monthly rates for a private studio start at $3,050. A room in a four-bedroom apartment starts at $1,900 per person. In Crystal City, a room in a four-bed unit starts at $1,200 per person, with private studios available from $1,640 per month.