The rise of the shared office spaces is endemic to the start-up frenzy. Co-working spaces, incubators and “you-name-it” sharing arrangements abound nationally and have been multiplying in Atlanta at an astonishing pace. Perhaps they’ve been late pushing into Atlanta due to the southeast’s dearth of venture capital funding relative to other regions.
As described in Eliot Brown’s excellent WSJ article WeWork’s private valuation of $10 billion has surpassed most publicly traded REITS and “is larger than all but three publicly traded office landlords, and more than half the size of Boston Properties, Inc., the largest by market capitalization with a value of $19 billion…Boston Properties owns more than 45 million square feet of real estate…by contrast, WeWork leases about 3.5 million square feet…”
Due to its plethora of land, Atlanta’s office rental rate growth has historically not kept up with inflation. Perhaps WeWork has figured out something the rest of us don’t know? Perhaps it is better to lease than to own (and play the arbitrage game)? I’ll put my money into Boston Properties but I’ll be sitting on the edge of my seat with popcorn watching the office sharing economy unfold.