- March 1, 2020: Vol. 14, Number 3

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The co-working conundrum: With the rise of the modern flexible-office sector, has co-working gone from hero to villain to antihero?

by Lisa Carse and Isaiah Usher

Institutional investor: “So ... WeWork ...”

Adviser:  “Where do I begin?”

Institutional investor: “First, it seemed like it was just a niche player renting desks to freelancers through gimmicks like exposed steel beams, brickwork and free beer. Then it became the biggest occupier of office space in both New York and London and one of the world’s highest-valued unicorns. It could do no wrong and raise any amount of capital at a snap of its fingers. Then it bought a wave pool business, started a kindergarten division, and its mission became elevating the world’s consciousness. We all know what happened next with the failure of its proposed IPO and plummeting valuation. So what’s going on with it all? What does it mean, and where does it leave us? Is there a future in it?”

Adviser: “Well — do you mean WeWork or co-working or the flexible-of

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