WeWork, the New York-based co-working network, has signed a 15-year lease for the entire 96,575-square-foot Security Building in downtown Miami, making it its second site in South Florida, according to a Metro 1 executive.
Metro 1 brokered the sale of the 16-story Security Building, at 117 NE First Ave., in June for $23.5 million. The historic building’s new owners had originally signed a lease with another shared office space provider, but that deal fell through and WeWork then came in and completed the lease transaction, said Tony Arellano, executive vice president of Metro 1 Commercial. WeWork plans a complete build-out of the 1926 building, opening in the first quarter of next year, Metro 1 said.
Arellano said the WeWork deal is a testament to thinking outside the box. “The seller got a price that normally wouldn’t be achievable and a lot of smart maneuvering was involved to bring the building back to its original grandeur and help secure a tenant like WeWork,” he said.
Founded in 2010 by Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey, WeWork runs or has announced plans for at least 42 co-working spaces in 16 cities in the United States, England, Israel and the Netherlands. The company said it has 25,000 members using its high-design spaces, including freelancers, startups and small businesses.
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WeWork declined to comment on its plans this week. But in an interview in June, McKelvey, chief creative officer of WeWork, told the Miami Herald that WeWork envisions eventually building five to seven spaces in the Miami area, as part of its global expansion. Fueling its building spree: This summer, WeWork closed a $400 million funding round, valuing the company at $10 billion.
Its first location on the ocean end of Lincoln Road has four floors and 40,000 square feet — small for WeWork but the biggest yet in South Florida — and accommodates 750 members. Typical of its other sites, the Lincoln Road location has shared workspaces, small private offices, conference rooms, lounges, phone booths and event space; it’s already hosted a number of startup community events. WeWork also has an app, with an internal news feed where members can seek advice or referrals, ask for feedback on a demo and find out about local events and group discounts.