Posts tagged with "WeLive"

Airbnb’s Samara group to design and construct homes for communal living

December 3, 2018

Airbnb has already changed the way people travel. Now, the eight-year-old company is aiming to bring the peer-to-peer economy to housing, with the introduction of Backyard—described on a new website as “an initiative to protype new ways homes can be built and shared, guided by an ambition to realize more humanistic, future-oriented, and waste-conscious design.”

Airbnb’s design studio, Samara, announced the project on November 28, CNBC reports. The Backyard initiative will “investigate how building could utilize sophisticated manufacturing techniques, smart-home technologies, and vast insight from the Airbnb community to thoughtfully respond to changing owner or occupant needs over time.”

The goal: To test prototypes Backyard units as soon as the fall of 2019.

“We began with a simple question: What does a home that is designed and built for sharing actually look and feel like?” Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia—who alo serves as the leader of the design and innovation studio Samara—said in a statement about Backyard. “The answer is not simple at all.

“Other questions quickly emerged,” said Gebbia. “Can a home respond to the needs of many inhabitants over a long period of time? Can it support and reflect the tremendous diversity of human experience? Can it keep up with the rate at which the world changes? Can we accomplish this without filling landfills with needless waste?

“It’s a tall order.”

While there are no details about what the homes might look like or how much they will cost, Gebbia told Fast Company that Backyard isn’t just about a house, it’s an “initiative to rethink the home.”

“We helped people activate underutilized space—from a spare bedroom or treehouse to your apartment while you’re away—and built a community that connected people around the world,” Gebbia said. “With Backyard, we’re using the same lens through which Airbnb was envisioned—the potential of space—and applying it more broadly to architecture and construction.”

As The Washington Post points out, the project “could augment Airbnb’s home-rental marketplace, adding real estate development to its portfolio, as cities continue to limit the company’s short-term rentals.” Cities from New York to Washington, D.C., and Boston are passing regulations that have the effect of restricting Airbnb offerings.

Airbnb management started the initiative by surveying the construction industry for practical solutions—but quickly found that it would be “necessary to start from a blank slate.”

“If we’re truly going to reimagine the design of homes,” Gebbia remarked, “ we have to be holistic. We can’t approach Backyard solely from the point of view of design, architecture, urbanism, civic ordinance, sustainable materiality, or manufacturing. We have to grapple with the whole of it.”

He said, “For us, this goes beyond a business opportunity. It’s a social responsibility. The way buildings are made is outdated and generates a tremendous amount of waste. In order to meet the demands of the future, whether it be climate displacement or rural-urban migration, the home needs to evolve, to think forward.”

It’s a tall order—and, says CNBC, Airbnb is not the only company expanding into residential real estate and shared living space: In 2016, collaborative workspace startup WeWork launched WeLive— which currently has two apartment locations (one in New York City and the other in D.C.). Both have dorm-like living spaces and communal social spaces.

Research contact: @sarahelizberger

WeWork is now second-biggest private office tenant in Manhattan

June 19, 2018

Eight years after opening its first co-working space in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, WeWork is now the second-biggest private office tenant in Manhattan, Recode reports. The company—which provides in-demand shared workspaces and services for freelancers, startups, and small businesses—now has 50 locations in the Big Apple; and five locations in SoHo, alone.

In fourth place just last year, WeWork is second only at this point to financial services company JPMorgan Chase, according to data from the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. Indeed, if WeWork were to lease another 407,356 square feet—roughly eight more average-size locations — it would be the biggest private office tenant in Manhattan, Recode reckons.

In 2017, WeWork opened ten new locations in the city and already another five are anticipated to open this year. Thanks in part to a $4.4 billion infusion from SoftBank’s Vision Fund in August 2017, the company expects 2018 to be its biggest growth year yet, according to the Recode report—estimating an addition of more than 750,000 square feet of office space in New York City.

WeWork currently has 2.9 million square feet of open office space across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, half of which was opened in the past two years. That’s enough to house the current 45,000 members.

Each location has a standard set of amenities and perks—beer and microbrew coffee on tap and large, open common spaces — but not all New York WeWorks are created equal. The South Williamsburg location, popular with freelance artists, has a photo studio members can use for shoots, and the Hudson Square location is building an indoor garden. A number of New York City locations also now include workout equipment.

WeWork says its New York City locations are, on average, 90% occupied. Several—including those in the Meatpacking District, Chelsea and Bryant Park—are at 100% membership and have wait lists, suggesting there’s still demand to grow its NYC capacity even more.

According to Recode, companies with more than 1,000 employees are WeWork’s fastest-growing segment, often renting overflow or satellite spaces from WeWork. These enterprise clients now make up about 15% of WeWork’s New York City membership, up from virtually zero a few years ago.

New York, which comprises 20% of WeWork’s 13 million square foot global footprint, also has become a test area for WeWork’s other businesses. These include a “co-living space” called WeLive that rents around 200 fully furnished apartments, which feels like a fancy dorm for grown-ups, with Pac-Man machines in the laundry room and a shared rooftop hot tub; and a gym called RisebyWe that’s a subterranean oasis, complete with a mineral bath, “semi-private” training, and an Astroturf gym.

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