Co-working giant WeWork expands into Melbourne

Co-working giant WeWork expands into Melbourne
Co-working giant WeWork expands into Melbourne

WeWork, one of the world's fastest-growing co-working businesses, has arrived in Melbourne, following on its entry into Sydney last year. 

The co-working firm is leasing into the iconic art deco building at 401 Collins Street owned by fund manager Impact Investment Group, taking the building’s rooftop and the entire nine floors of commercial space, said a media release.

New York-based WeWork was founded in 2010 and has grown fast to set up more than 120 shared work spaces across 32 cities globally. The firm opened its first office at Sydney’s 5 Martin Place in the heart of the city’s central business district last year. 

Its arrival in Melbourne is part of a rising trend of co-working spaces in the city. Last year, Hub Australia opened Victoria’s largest coworking space, Hub Southern Cross, in Melbourne, spread across 3,900sqm and two floors of the historic Mail Exchange building.

Liberman-family backed Impact Investment Group (IIG) bought the building for $32 million in 2014 and is currently refurbishing it. The makeover includes restoration of 401 Collins’ heritage stone front façade, mechanical upgrades and improving its energy efficiency.

The 11-storey building was once commandeered by General Douglas MacArthur as his headquarters for US Army forces in World War II.

“This marks the start of a new era for 401 Collins. We’re proud to be setting up the next chapter in this remarkable building’s life,” said Impact CEO Chris Lock.

“It shows that these pre-war buildings, built to endure as they were, can still contribute to Australia’s move towards lower carbon emissions.”

Newly claimed space on the rooftop and in the basement will see the net lettable area (NLA) increase by 360 sqm, bringing the total NLA to about 6,291 sqm.

WeWork’s managing director, Asia Pacific, Ole Ruch, said Melbourne is home to startups, big businesses, and creative entrepreneurs “pioneering innovation” nd it was a “natural next step for WeWork”. 

The Hon Philip Dalidakis MP, Victorian Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade said, "We welcome global co-working provider WeWork to Melbourne's thriving startup community.”

IIG is also in talks with two Melbourne restaurateurs with plans to establish a new hospitality brand on the ground floor.

Current tenant, Roy Morgan Research Ltd (RMR), is expected to move out of the property in late 2017. 

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