Entrepreneurs will soon have the opportunity to get discounted co-working space in Downtown Miami and Brickell.
Miami City Hall on Wednesday announced a referral program with co-working giant WeWork where people and businesses looking to rent workspace can get discounted rates. The deal is part of an effort to attract entrepreneurs and startups to Miami — and perhaps in a competitive market attract current Miami co-workers away from their current spaces.
WeWork will get an advertising bump from City Hall: Proprietors who contact the city or go to its website will be directed to WeWork’s discount package. Two WeWork locations in Miami, one in Brickell and the other at 117 NE First Ave., will offer a 20 percent discount for the first three months and 10 percent for another three months.
WeWork has quickly become one of the largest tenants of commercial space both here in Miami and around the world. It is now valued at more than $20 billion, and just opened its fifth Miami location in Coral Gables.
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In Miami, WeWork has entered a market with more co-working space available than any other city in America on a percentage basis — meaning there is more competition to attract co-workers. WeWork has previously offered discount programs, but the latest announcement may be a sign of a need to get more clients through its doors. A person familiar with the situation who declined to be named said WeWork had recently increased its commission to brokers who could help bring in Fortune 500-type companies.
WeWork’s growth has raised fears that it could muscle out smaller, locally-owned co-working competitors. At least one Miami co-working space exec who declined to be named criticized the city for favoring an outsider over a local business.
Others are not worried. Tigre Wenrich, who runs Wynwood’s The LAB, one of Miami’s oldest co-working spaces, said he is not concerned about increased competition.
“Despite WeWork’s aggressive discounting, we have a waiting list at The LAB,” he said.
Suarez said the city approached WeWork last year to discuss a partnership, which could be the first of many he would support as he focuses on making Miami a hub for tech entrepreneurs.
“From my perspective, we’re going to be interested in doing partnerships with whomever’s interested,” he told the Miami Herald. “For example, I’ve done partnerships with Lyft and with Uber. To me, it’s really about the proactivity of the company. Some companies are more entrepreneurial, and some companies are more amenable to doing these kinds of things than others.”