Photos by Keeley Smith.
Months after a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in the Unites States District Court in June by WeWork over WE Labs’ use of the word “WE” in its title, the mayor and other Long Beach leaders officially welcomed the global brand to Long Beach Thursday.
WeWorks is a global office sharing company with offices around the world, blazing a trail for similar companies, yet standing apart as a product due to its commitment to community building along with the provision of office space.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia’s opening statements for the small group of media gathered were unabashedly enthusiastic, speaking of what welcoming a company like WeWorks means for the city.
Photo of the Santa Monica WeWork space, courtesy of WeWork.
“This investment in this building, and space and the floors that they’re taking is not just an investment for their [WeWorks’] business, but it’s an investment for the community and for the City of Long Beach as well,” said Garcia.
He described Long Beach real estate as “booming,” referencing the increase of property values and pointing to recent developments in the heart of the city.
The investment and slated 2017 opening of the WeWorks spot in Long Beach was rumored to be in the works as early as last June, when the Post first wrote about the company’s lawsuit against WE Labs.
The two companies offer essentially the same services; shared and private office space, conference rooms, high speed internet and other general amenities for startups and entrepreneurs who lack the capital to build or maintain their own offices. Both WE Labs and WeWork operate on a monthly membership basis, where members pay for the type and size of office space their businesses require.
However, WeWork, in contrast to the localized WE Labs, is a company valued in the billions—$16 billion as of March, according to the Wall Street Journal. It was founded in 2009 and opened its first office in Los Angeles in 2011. Specifically, it has global offices in London, Paris and Seoul and operates 80 domestic offices, including nine in Los Angeles County. Among the LA spaces are offices in Culver City, Pasadena and Santa Monica.
Perhaps the most obvious distinguishing factor when propping WE Labs and WeWork side by side is WeWork’s ability to create international networks, given their connections within international brands such as AirBnB, in addition to social traditions like “Taco Tuesday” and a Friday massage in their Southern California offices, and more.
Still, the group of WeWork representatives seemed frozen in place when this reporter asked what was different about their shared workplace philosophy, in light of the fact that a WE Labs office sat literally one block away, and the company had been serving Long Beach for some time.
Silence filled the vacant, ready-to-remodel office space, located at 100 West Broadway.
Garcia took a quick step forward.
“I just want to say that I think there is space for everyone to succeed,” said Garcia. “WeWork is known for its global brand[…] I think that success brings more success, brings more success.”
The space will be filled with cutting-edge designs, intimate cafe-spaces for eating and meeting, individual offices, sleek conference rooms and more.
The plans, as outlined on the website, included a starting membership of $45 a month, a “Hot Desk” membership at $220 a month, a “Dedicated Desk” membership at $350 a month and a “Private Office” membership at $450 a month—along with a $100 starting fee.
“Our vision for Southern California is big and bold, and the Long Beach location reflects that,” said Jon Slavet, WeWork general manager for the Western Region in a statement. “We believe in creating opportunities and spaces that foster meaningful connections. Long Beach is a destination for people to work, but also to shop, live and generally be inspired and share ideas. That’s exactly what the future of work is all about – and exactly the community we’re excited to be part of.”