WeWork made its plans to open its first Baltimore location at Harbor Point’s Wills Wharf official.
The co-working space plans to open at 1201 Wills St. in 2020, according to an announcement from the company. JLL represented the landlord and the tenant in the deal for 60,000 square feet in the 330,000-square-foot office, hotel, and retail building. The site is expected to handle more than 1,100 members, according to WeWork.
“WeWork is thrilled to contribute to an innovative and thriving technology sector as we execute our first lease in Baltimore at Harbor Point,” Nicole Mozeliak, WeWork’s general manager for the mid-Atlantic, said. “We look forward to playing an active role in the Charm City’s growing economy and attracting new talent to this community of unlimited potential.”
The New York-based firm, founded in 2010, currently has 268,000 members at 287 locations in 77 cities across the world. It offers a variety of options for work space including a private office, dedicated, and “hot desks.”
“This is an exciting announcement for all of Baltimore, not just Harbor Point. Introducing dynamic new entrants, like WeWork, to this market helps Baltimore to grow and spurs continued positive development,” Michael Beatty, president of Harbor Point developer Beatty Development Group, said in a statement.
The 27-acre, $1 billion waterfront project at completion will include 1.6 million square feet of office space, 250,000 square feet or retail, and 1,000 residential units. The project, which was built on the Allied Signal chromium plant industrial site, generated controversy due to environmental concerns over construction that required puncturing a cap covering contaminated soil on the site.
Harbor Point also faced opposition after the developer requested, and was granted, $107 million in public financing for infrastructure work. Downtown property owners and business interests were among those who opposed the financing because, they argued, it provided a competitor for tenants an unfair advantage.
The concept of coworking has been quickly growing in Maryland in recent years. Essentially firms provide work space for a membership fee and cater to either remote workers or serve as a startup incubator.
Locally those options run the gamut from tiny nonprofit operations such as Red Wagon Baltimore, which targets parent working from home with kids, to Spark Baltimore, which is backed by the Cordish Cos., and which offers an array of hospitality options.
Firms like WeWork and Spaces, which leased 35,000 square feet last year at 145 W. Ostend St. at the $275 million Stadium Square, have so far selected new office construction. But some Baltimore-based commercial real estate brokers view the sector as having potential to help back-fill space at older downtown office assets, particularly in the area north of Lombard Street hammered by vacancies.