Behind the Deal: WeWork collaborative office space at Corrigan Station will cater to creatives and the rising millennial workforce

WeWork’s 44,000 square foot lease at Corrigan Station in the Crossroads Arts District brings the spec office project and historic renovation to 90 percent occupancy within a month of its opening. But it signals more than just another deal, according to developer Copaken Brooks. The four-story collaborative office space—specifically designed with creatives, industry leaders, Millennials, and "The Doers" in mind—brings the office of the future in the Midwest to a whole new level.

“This is great for Corrigan Station,” said Jon Copaken, principal with Copaken Brooks. “But more importantly, this says a lot about Kansas City and downtown and Crossroads specifically to be able to land a tenant that is on the cutting edge in changing the working environment. Because WeWork is so dominant in the co-working and collaborative space environment, their move to Corrigan Station validates Kansas City as a desirable, cutting-edge hub for innovation.”

Finding users that would weave well into the Crossroads' creative community and culture was a top priority for Copaken Brooks. As luck would have it, Vice President of Development and Construction Aaron Schlagel knew a former classmate who was a lead architect for global collaborative workspace provider WeWork and invited her to Kansas City for a visit.

“We went thru a systematic process to get there. We sought out and shortlisted the best in class space for creatives and creators based on the market we were trying to go after,” Schlagel said. “Before I moved back home to Kansas City, the collaborative space was my bread and butter in Colorado, so I had a deep understanding of WeWork’s business model.”

Copaken’s team toured WeWork spaces in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Denver to ensure the company was the right fit for Corrigan Station and that it would bring a maximum number of creative and like-minded workers under one roof in the Crossroads.

Copaken’s Ryan Biery and John Coe worked with partners at Cushman Wakefield to finalize the lease, in which WeWork took 4 of 10 floors and maxed out the number of jobs projected for Corrigan Station.

“This is a huge win for Kansas City and our investors because a typical office building would only put about 750 jobs into a project of this size at full buildout. We’re putting more than 750 people in 40 percent of the building,” Schlagel said.

With an international network of fully wired office space in 37 cities and 12 countries and a global membership of 90,000, WeWork’s brand recognition is expected to benefit business owners traveling to and from Kansas City. 

“Our local business leaders are expanding nationally and internationally. When they travel, they will need a place to work while their family plays, and WeWork provides them that opportunity,” Schlagel said.

"The millennial generation is expected to comprise 75 percent of the work force by 2025. The co-work office space model is how they want to work, and the best managers no longer see their work spaces as indications of success but rather as practical productivity tools. The movement is here. It’s happening.”