Feb 28, 2024 - News

WeWork opens Common Desk coworking space in San Antonio

A lounge and coworking area with a beige couch, bookshelves and a large meeting table.

A common area at the Common Desk facility. Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Cazares

A new coworking space has landed in downtown San Antonio.

Why it matters: Common Desk, a WeWork company, is placing a big bet on the desire for flexible office space in a city with fewer remote workers than other major cities.

Details: Common Desk's new digs at Travis Park Plaza boast nearly 20,000 square feet that include five conference rooms, two technology-equipped Zoom rooms built for video calls, 72 private offices and lots of shared working space.

  • It features a podcasting studio, a full kitchen and an espresso bar.

How it works: The space is for small to mid-sized businesses that want a more unique office experience for their employees, in addition to individual remote workers seeking a desk away from home, Common Desk's head of real estate Dawson Williams tells Axios.

Zoom in: Memberships start at $75 per month for students or $150 per month for a basic pass, which allows you to visit eight days per month.

  • You can get a private office starting at $600 per month, which grants access seven days a week.
  • Companies can get a Team Pass for $350 per month, which gets up to 10 people access for 12 days a month.
A coffee bar with four stools and shelving.
A hospitality bar at Common Desk. Photo: Courtesy of Jesse Cazares

Context: WeWork bought the Dallas-based Common Desk about two years ago in a bid to continue growing after its infamous collapse in 2019. WeWork filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

  • Earlier this year, WeWork sought to reject leases it took over from Common Desk for two Dallas-area sites.
  • One of those sites was taken over by a Common Desk member, Williams says.
  • "Yes, we've kind of culled the portfolio a little bit in Dallas, but I don't think that's at all a response to remote work as much as finding better alternatives for our members," Williams says.

Between the lines: San Antonio still has more remote workers than before the pandemic but is far behind Dallas and Austin as far as folks staying home.

  • Recent Census figures show that 14.8% of San Antonio metro area workers were working from home as of 2022, just below the U.S. rate of 15.2%.
  • In Dallas, that figure was 18.3%. In Austin, it was 28%.

What they're saying: "The small to mid-sized business customer is so critical to Common Desk, and I just think they're underserved" in San Antonio, Williams says. "There's not enough space, and really no spaces like Common Desk, in the market."

Zoom out: The coworking sector has done well even as WeWork has struggled.

The big picture: Office vacancies across the U.S. were at a record high at the end of last year as companies continued to adapt to the new norms of remote and hybrid work.

  • San Antonio's office vacancy rate at the end of 2023 was 20.8%, just above the U.S. rate of 19.6%.
  • Austin, Houston and Dallas have some of the highest office vacancy rates in the country, well above San Antonio's.

The bottom line: Customers were asking Common Desk to open a space in San Antonio, and they shall receive.

  • "San Antonio (had) certainly one of the highest amounts of inquiries we've gotten prior to opening a location in a long time," Williams says.
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