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Cornell Real Estate Review

Abstract

Coworking has experienced exponential growth and established a global identity in the short period of a single decade. While the terms “coworking” and “shared work space” existed prior to the market collapse in 2008, their presence as an asset class and worldwide network had not developed fully. Philadelphia has seen firsthand the rapid expansion of coworking spaces with companies like WeWork and Benjamin’s Desk (1776) opening multiple locations with thousands of square feet in the space of a few years. These and other coworking companies continue to see growth with some seeking to expand into more suburban areas once a CBD flagship has been established. With growing membership and a need to be near members (either directly or through transit), where are the locations in Philadelphia where coworking companies should consider investing? As coworking demand increases, Philadelphia also has an increasing inventory of vacant historic sacred places—currently at thirty-nine buildings equaling approximately 500,000 square feet (Partners for Sacred Places, 2017). This paper will first define coworking and the coworker, give statistics on coworking growth, identify key real estate needs, and finally propose historic sacred places as an alternative for coworking expansion.

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