WeWork has become more than a coworking space. With 121 locations in 38 cities—and a $16 billion valuation—it’s a company as valuable as Snapchat with the global reach of Airbnb. Now, for those who want to take their communal lifestyle home, there’s WeLive, the company’s new coliving spaces. And there is at least one millennial who has made the startup a way of WeLife—he both WeWorks and WeLives.
On Vice News Tonight, correspondent Nellie Bowles interviews 25-year-old Nicolas Lulli, who houses his social media company in a WeWork, and lives in a WeLive on Wall Street with his fiancée.
Bowles somehow manages to keep a straight face when Lulli says stuff like this:
"So you have Sunday night family dinner at WeLive, followed by Monday morning breakfast at WeWork. It never ... it never ends. The WeWork circle of life is what it becomes."
And later, on the subway:
"It's the only part of the day that I'm not WeAnything. Maybe one day there will be a WeSubway, but not yet."
Consider Lulli’s WeWork/WeLive world: The segment doesn’t say how much he pays for coworking space, but for $4,000 per month, Lulli gets a completely furnished private apartment with amenities like a shared cook’s kitchen, yoga classes, and “all the coffee, tea, and beer you can drink.” (Free beer is worth at least $2,000 per month, right?)
Lulli tells Bowles that he likes the fact that someone else has tastefully appointed his apartment for him, and he and his soon-to-be-wife talk about how they’re not registering for material possessions for their wedding because they don’t particularly care for them.
While the shared resources and professional perks of coworking spaces have made them a ubiquitous presence on the urban landscape—there are even women-only coworking spaces now—bringing that mentality home with official, branded coliving spaces hasn’t caught on as quickly.
In Manhattan, WeLive is joined by coliving startups like Common that offer similar setups—somewhere between an extended stay hotel and a hipster hostel (although many of Common’s tenants sign more traditional 12-month agreements). Then there’s Roam, which has communal living properties in a handful of cities worldwide, like Miami, Madrid, and Ubud, Indonesia, where you “pay one rent” to move freely between them.
The idea is that these types of living situations might be more flexible than signing a traditional lease, for people who might need to spend a few months here, a few months there, another reason why it’s being touted as a potential solution for the housing crunch.
Now consider that WeWork is so big it’s starting to transform the commercial real estate market—it’s the 16th largest lessee of office space in Manhattan, with 1.44 million square feet occupied. There are only two WeLives so far—in New York and DC—but the company supposedly plans to add 68 more buildings by the end of 2018 (including one supposedly coming to Jersey City). Will the way WeLive soon look more like the way WeWork?