WeWork has opened a brand new building in Northeast Portland, its first on the east side and fourth in the city. The new three-floor space on NE Holladay street with capacity for more than 870, is recognizably WeWork—warm tones, bright color pops, milled wood shelving, and plants aplenty—and boasts a rooftop terrace with views all the way to Forest Park, and a basement exterior patio with a 74-foot mural by local artist David Rice. The new WeWork also pays homage to its (relatively) nearby neighbor Music Milennium, incorporating brickwork to mirror that store’s exterior in desks and counters, and populating the space with vinyl—Billy Joel to Whitney Houston to Johnny Cash—sourced from the East Burnside stalwart.
The new space comes less than six months after the company’s failed IPO and ouster of its colorful one-time CEO Adam Neumann, but new tenants are unfazed by recent history, among them the Lark Academy, a new non-profit private high school that's already secured a space at NE Holladay. "Our core mission is to empower future innovators, designers, and entrepreneurs to become the global leaders and creators of their generation. We could not think of a better place to do that than WeWork," said Lark Academy founder Elizabeth Dowell in a statement. "Our values are so aligned, it seems like the perfect place to engage our students in what the working world can be.”
The 50,000-square-foot NE Holladay space, which also houses work from local artists Iván Carmona, Jovencio de la Paz, Carly Diaz, and Heldáy de la Cruz, is the fourth to open in Portland since the first WeWork office was opened in downtown’s US Custom House in 2015. A hotdesk at NE Holladay costs $360 a month, a membership sign-up that allows users to set up at any WeWork location worldwide. The company now has offices in 140 cities in 37 countries around the world.
Miguel McKelvey, the Oregon-born co-founder and currently Chief Cultural Officer of WeWork, told Portland Monthly that renters will decide for themselves whether the model appeals. “For the entire time that we’ve had this company I’ve said that the biggest challenge is that we have to create a great experience for our members every day and then we have to come back tomorrow and do it all over again,” he says. “Because everyone has a choice in our context to work where they want to work and how they want to work so I think we have to prove it to them every day that we’re the best option for them. I feel that now more than ever.”