WeWork, a co-working start-up company, is moving into the multifamily market according to Fast Company reporter Sarah Kessler. WeWork, which leases office co-working space, began testing their first residential units over the weekend in New York City, with 80 WeWork members and employees moving into the firm's 45 "co-living" apartment units on Wall Street, where it already runs a co-working space on the first seven floors of the building. WeWork plans to eventually house about 600 people on 20 floors. WeWork is also reportedly setting up more than 200 co-living units in Crystal City, Va., near Washington, D.C.
WeWork has bet big on applying the community experience it curates for 40,000 co-working members to housing. In an investor pitch deck that leaked in August, the company estimated that its residential offering, which at the time it called "WeLive" (the name may change), would account for 21% of its revenue—$605.9 million—by 2018. In those documents, WeWork planned that WeLive would span across 10.3 million square feet of real estate and serve 34,000 members within the next three years.
Each of the units has a private kitchen and bathroom, and the units will come fully furnished. WeWork will provide services to residents such as monthly cleaning, and the residents will have access to community amenities on their floors, including yoga studios and movie theaters, as well as community events like fitness classes and potluck community dinners.
"Co-living" is obviously not new (see the kibbutz, the commune, the close-knit neighborhood), and WeWork is not the first to turn it into a business. Co-living startups, which typically charge rent (or "membership") on a month-by-month basis, see an opportunity to provide flexible housing for affluent millennials, who are flocking to urban areas at a higher rate than any other previous generation, even as rents in cities like New York and San Francisco hit record highs.