What you’ll find at the Capitol Hill WeWork

A WeWork lobby in Xujiahui (Image: WeWork)

Late last year, news spread that the preservation-boosted Kelly Springfield office building hoped to bring more jobs to Capitol Hill and help spark more daytime activity in Pike/Pine would have one gargantuan tenant — global coworking powerhouse, WeWork.

With construction on the building nearly complete, the finishing touches being put on its restored but still representative auto row-era facade, and the streetscape and rainbows restored, the company’s newest Seattle office-space location is nearly ready to offer up its first “hot desk.” When it does, want-to-be Pike/Pine workers will find five stories of dedicated WeWork space including “light-filled lounges, modern conference rooms, and sleek private offices” and some of the rapidly growing companies newest features like the Made by We store.

WeWork representatives haven’t responded to our inquiries about opening plans but the new facility is accepting sign-ups for tours and workspaces. Last year, the company said to expect workers to arrive “by late summer.”

 

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“Ever since WeWork came to Seattle, we’ve been looking for the right space and opportunity to open in Capitol Hill and support the community there. With this location we’ve found the perfect opportunity to do just that,” Gina Phillips, WeWork general manager for the Northwest, said in a statement provided to CHS at the time. “And while others might shy away from landmark buildings, WeWork cherishes these historic spaces where preservation constraints drive beautiful and creative outcomes that respect the past while building for the future.”

Current pricing for the 11th Ave WeWork only lists the so-called “hot desk” concept — “Access to open workspace in the common area. Bring your laptop, pick a spot, and get to work.” — which will begin at $390 a month, according to the signup site.

“Situated at the juncture of Capitol Hill and Pike/Pine, our coworking space on 11th Ave is an energetic home for your company. Surrounded by bars, restaurants, and countless entertainment options, this vibrant workspace offers an oasis of productivity for teams of all sizes,” the WeWork pitch reads.

Some of the ad copy is… a little off. “Commuting is simple with the Light Rail at Broadway and E Pine St, plus several buses nearby,” they write. They also promise “Pronto Bike Sharing” only 0.6 miles away.

And some is, of course, unintentionally funny. “After work, explore the dynamic culinary scene on Broadway, or head to Cal Anderson Park for a breath of fresh air,” the earnest copy for the new WeWork location in “this diverse, cultural, and business savvy pocket of Seattle,” reads.

WeWork has said the focus for its new Capitol Hill location will be to serve small- and medium-sized businesses “to ensure they have access to workspace in one of the city’s most sought-after areas.”

The preservation-incentive boosted development WeWork now calls home has turned the old Capitol Hill Value Village — and before that, REI, and before that, the Kelly Springfield Motor Truck Company — into an office and retail complex in the heart of Pike/Pine. The landmarked structure neighbors another — the White Motor Company next door where media company The Stranger and The Rhino Room continue to reside.

WeWork joins a neighborhood with a busy cafe “desk jockey” culture and longtime dedicated coworking spaces. Boylston’s Office Nomads debuted more than a decade ago, doubled in size five years later, and has now focused back down to its original footprint as the number of available desks in other buildings in the neighborhood has increased.

In addition to cool neighbors at The Stranger and the Rhino Room, WeWork customers will enjoy a wide range off office amenities:

Industry watchers will note the major new WeWork facility will also include some of the global company’s newest features. WeWorkers will be invited to “sell products or art” at the Made by We retail space on the development’s ground floor.

WeWork, meanwhile, isn’t the only big player in the new economy to be on CHS’s watchlist as summer approaches. On E Pike, work continues on a coming Amazon grocery store.

WeWork is set to open “soon” at 1525 11th Ave. You can learn more at wework.com.

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16 thoughts on “What you’ll find at the Capitol Hill WeWork

  1. As an old foggy, I don’t quite get these kind of work spaces, and why they are in such demand. Are they mainly for people who would otherwise work from home (or from a coffee shop)? If so, why would they want to pay good money for something they can have for free?

    Still, this seems to be a good use of a beautifully-restored old building…..far preferable to just another ugly box of an apartment building.

    • Hey Bob! Having worked in a WeWork space in NYC, understanding what they provide is beyond any current company. WeWork is a company that provides start-ups, small businesses, and even med-large businesses with a space that is all-inclusive in the work world. They provide a communal space with everything needed. Games, music, beer on tap, full kitchens, books, cleaning services and tons of networking options! Being a member Allows you to access to the worlds WeWork spaces that are open so when traveling you have a spot to work at. You have to be registered and added by a company to be able to work in the space. A great thing for Seattle! 👌🏼👌🏼👌🏼

      • I must be an old fogey, too, because I fail to see how “games, music, beer on tap, full kitchens, books, and cleaning services” are “needed” in the “work world.” WeWork sounds like an extension of dorm life for those not quite ready to grasp what professionalism means. As a former small-business owner, I would have been embarrassed to invite clients to meet me in a space like that.

    • Hey Bob!
      It’s a great question and one I’m happy to answer as someone who has owned and operated a coworking space on Capitol Hill since 2007 (Office Nomads).
      We’ve asked our members over the years and the two main reasons they come to a coworking space like ours are to be less isolated and to be more productive. It sounds simple, but it’s profound if you are struggling with either of those issues. Working from home or even a cafe may seem like a great way to save money, but it doesn’t solve the problem of feeling alone and unsure of what you’re doing. No amount of social media or digital connectivity can really solve those problems. Being with people, IRL (or in real life, as the youngsters say), is the best way to be more connected.
      We say a lot around here that our members come for a place to work but they stay because they make friends. That’s the most important work we do here.
      I hope that helps! Come on over and visit anytime – I’d be glad to show you around. :)

    • I would say while a lot of the perks mentioned are cool, it’s more about having an affordable option for you and staff from a small start up to work in a collaborative environment. Even further, it puts you on an environment to also collaborate with similar innovative companies. These clusters (often tech) have proven to contribute to innovation and productivity.

  2. Yeah – it’s what you thought you wanted, but what you really want is somewhere you can close the door and concentrate without endless distractions, Microsoft has done this to all their building, and now eveyone hides out in conf rooms or works from home. Put 20 people in one big room and even a simple conversation has to be whispered or everyone stares at you.

    • Roger that. I’ve experienced it too. The companies call it “collaborative” with their open workplaces but mostly it’s just distractions and an excuse to build cheaper office spaces. Fundamentally, it’s a generational difference in how different-aged workers see the workplace, and a totally different work ethic. Older people view the all-fun-and-games version of the workplace as a distraction. Many younger people (not all) think it’s “normal”. Meanwhile, in real life in my “collaborative” workplace, at any given time probably 60-70% of people are working from home just so they can hear themselves think and get anything done.

      • Interesting, Jim. So, they pay rent for a “co-space” somewhere, then stay at home the majority of the time? That makes no sense at all.

        From a couple of the remarks above, it sounds to me like these places are more social clubs than anything.

        Sorry I mis-spelled “fogey.” But some here would think “old foggy” is a better description! (ha ha)

      • Bob,
        No, I was referring to regular businesses who are starting to redesign their office space like this, like Alocal mentioned Microsoft is doing. They tout it like it’s “collaborative” and better, but in practice a lot of people hide out in meeting rooms or work from home whenever they can, because the open environment is so distracting they can’t concentrate.

    • its not that expensive so if you want to work out of the house a few days and the rest at we work its still a decent deal. I mean I don’t do it and I’ve been working from home for 8 years… but I can see the allure, especially if you are young and new to the city.

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