WeWork expects to emerge from bankruptcy with 6 locations in Atlanta

Co-working company rejected or closed 5 unprofitable metro Atlanta locations during financial restructuring
WeWork officially launched its new startups labs aimed at women and underserved communities in Atlanta on Jan. 27, 2020. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

WeWork officially launched its new startups labs aimed at women and underserved communities in Atlanta on Jan. 27, 2020. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Embattled co-working pioneer WeWork will continue to operate six of its 11 metro Atlanta locations after shedding unprofitable leases during its bankruptcy proceedings.

The New York firm, which helped popularize shared workplaces, announced Thursday it had completed all of its Atlanta area lease negotiations since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November. The company said in a news release that it has determined a path forward for more than 95% of its office leases across the globe and has reduced its total rent commitments by more than $11 billion.

WeWork cut five unprofitable locations in the Atlanta area, including its offices in 725 Ponce along the popular Beltline Eastside trail. Atlanta-based Cousins Properties owns that tower, and its executives have said for months they had stopped negotiations with WeWork because of high demand from other prospective tenants.

A WeWork spokesperson said its members based at 725 Ponce have been notified and will be transitioned to another location.

The company will continue to operate its Midtown offices at Coda in Technology Square, Colony Square and 881 Peachtree Street; its Decatur office at 120 W Trinity; its Dunwoody office at 1155 Perimeter Center West; and its Buckhead office at Terminus — a location also owned by Cousins.

In addition to 725 Ponce, WeWork cut leases at The Interlock in West Midtown, Boundary in Midtown, Tower Place 100 in Buckhead and Halcyon in Forsyth County.

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Some of those locations now have reduced footprints after the lease renegotiations.

In November, before declaring bankruptcy, WeWork’s 11 Atlanta area locations combined to about 623,000 square feet of workspace. WeWork did not have an updated square footage number for its six locations that currently remain open.

WeWork doesn’t own office buildings. Instead, it leases office space from landlords and then designs its offices and subleases space to individuals, small companies and even Fortune 500 corporations, typically on short terms. Earlier this year, Travelers Co. opened an innovation center within WeWork’s Coda offices.

Made famous by its eccentric cofounder and former CEO Adam Neumann, WeWork’s rise and fall ranks among the largest corporate collapses in U.S. history. The company was once valued at $47 billion, but a bungled 2019 initial public offering, controversies involving Neumann and the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the wider office market combined to tank the company’s stock price and abilities to raise new capital.

The company expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of May. Peter Greenspan, WeWork’s global head of real estate, said he’s “immensely grateful to our landlords for their collaboration and partnership” in reworking the company’s leases in Atlanta and other major cities.

“Together, we’re more confident than ever in WeWork’s future at their properties,” he said in the release.