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WeWork bets on a Philadelphia location as it emerges from bankruptcy

The global coworking operator is keeping the lease for its ground-floor space in Center City’s East Market development.

WeWork is emerging from bankruptcy (Shutterstock)

Five months after filing for bankruptcy and downsizing its local footprint, WeWork is confirming its intention to continue having a Philly presence.

The global coworking operator is keeping its lease for the space at 1100 Ludlow St. in Center City, according to a Monday announcement.

The Ludlow space has continued operating throughout, but its future now looks more solid. It’s in a very central location: on the ground floor of the East Market development, which has been in the works over the last 10 years and is now getting finishing touches.

Unlike at some locations in other cities, the Ludlow lease did not require renegotiation or new terms as part of what WeWork calls “portfolio optimization” to bring down costs.

The property developer, National Real Estate Advisors, seems to want to have a coworking space at the burgeoning project.

“WeWork’s sought-after workspace at 1100 Ludlow Street has supported growing businesses, fostered community among local entrepreneurs and helped companies find new roots in Philadelphia,” said National Real Estate Advisors in a statement. “We know that WeWork is the right partner for our property and look forward to their continued success.”

The East Market development covers Market to Chestnut streets between 11th and 12th. It includes two residential buildings, two hotels and office space. TJ Maxx, Iron Hill Brewery and Federal Donuts are among other stores and restaurants that live in the project’s retail space. Jefferson Plaza opened last summer and Mulherin’s Pizzeria will open this week.

Philadelphia has an active coworking scene with locally run hubs like Indy Hall, which has been operating since 2007, and REC Philly which opened in 2014. Global coworking companies such as Mindspace, which opened its Philly location in 2021, have also established themselves in the city.

WeWork once had five spaces in Philly, but has closed various locations over the years. The first WeWork location opened in Philly in 2016 at 1010 N. Hancock St. in Northern Liberties. However, the company has faced financial woes, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year despite a former valuation of $47 billion.

WeWork’s 1430 Walnut St. location closed in 2020 and its 1601 Market St. location closed in 2022. Most recently, the company stopped operating in its Northern Liberties location in October — the space rebranded as Operators Club at The Piazza.

WeWork currently has two locations in Philadelphia, 1100 Ludlow and 1900 Market St.

This is the first lease WeWork has assumed in Philly since going bankrupt, and one of five announced this week across North America. The company has so far assumed 35 leases worldwide and expects to announce more. The latest ones are subject to court approval.

“With new momentum in Philadelphia’s return to office and increasing demand for our flexible workspaces, we’re confident in continuing our operations at 1100 Ludlow Street,” a statement from WeWork said. “We appreciate National Real Estate Advisors’ ongoing support and look forward to remaining part of the Philadelphia community for many years to come.”

Sarah Huffman is a 2022-2024 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: WeWork

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