With a new location in College Park, WeWork is ticking off a couple of its firsts.
Regionally, it’s the coworking giant’s first space in Maryland. Nationally, meanwhile, it’s the first WeWork on a college campus.
The dual nature of the milestones point at what the space is looking to achieve. The 12,000-square-foot space is open to members from the university community, and, as evidenced by University of Maryland College Park President Wallace Loh’s enthusiasm at an open house on Thursday night, they’re very excited about the space setting up shop.
Yet it’s also looking toward the wider College Park community. Since opening in December, entrepreneurs and other businesses have moved in that don’t count direct ties to campus.
“As the first WeWork in Maryland, we’re excited to provide companies of all sizes the ability to set up shop in thriving College Park,” said Lex Miller, WeWork director of business operations for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
It’s why officials like Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn also took an interest on Thursday night. Rutherford pointed out that the area is in an Opportunity Zone, the federal designation that the state administration is also seeking to support with added incentives.
“What that means is that there is going to be investment that’s going to come into the area, additional jobs are going to be created,” Rutherford said.
The connection between the university and economic development is part of a wider plan in College Park. Known as the Discovery District, the area where WeWork sits off Baltimore Avenue is also home to the Diamondback Garage, which hosts an incubator from Capital One that plays host to students and researchers, office space for Adobe and event space. It sits below the parking garage within The Hotel at the University of Maryland. In the same area, Scott Plank’s War Horse Cities is turning an old auto repair garage into a food hall.
The idea is that closely locating resources from the university, startups and larger businesses can help everyone grow.
For its part, WeWork is 50 percent hot desks, with the first floor of the two-story building being all hot desks. There’s a total of 300 desks available, with a mix of private offices on the second floor.
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