Space race

Austin real estate titan set to topple coworking giant WeWork in 2019

Austin real estate titan set to topple coworking giant WeWork in 2019

Downtown Austin skyline
A new company plans on bringing 1.2 million square feet of coworking space into Austin this year.   Nicholas McComber/Getty Images

Austin real estate mogul Nate Paul is taking on the titan of coworking — WeWork — with the launch of his new coworking venture, NowSpace LLC.

Paul’s real estate investment firm, World Class Capital Group LLC, owns 12 properties in Austin totaling 1.2 million square feet that it plans to earmark for NowSpace’s “flexible workspace” locations. On its website, NowSpace broadly identifies the areas of Austin that it’s initially targeting: downtown, East Austin, West Austin, Southeast Austin, Northwest Austin, South Congress Avenue, and the Domain.

Paul tells CultureMap that the first NowSpace location in Austin will be announced soon and is set to open April 1. In addition, NowSpace is converting the historic Phillips Building, at 105 E. Fifth St., into flexible workspace. That building is between Congress Avenue and San Jacinto Boulevard in downtown Austin.

Within the next 12 months, NowSpace expects to at least double the number of NowSpace locations in Austin, going from the current 12 to more than 24, Paul says.

As it stands now, WeWork operates five coworking spaces in Austin, with a sixth location on the way. That makes it the biggest coworking operator in the city, based on the number of locations that are currently open. However, NowSpace boasts that it’s “the largest flexible space provider in Austin,” thanks to the 12 locations that are on tap.

It’s unclear exactly where NowSpace will expand beyond Austin. However, it is filling jobs in Austin, Dallas, and San Francisco, according to its website, as it seeks to establish a national footprint. Paul says locations outside Austin will be announced throughout 2019.

“Our team is redefining the flexible workspace market in the nation’s most dynamic office markets,” NowSpace says on its website. “NowSpace provides cutting-edge design with a next-level hospitality experience. We handle everything when it comes to your real estate, so you can focus on growing your business.”

NowSpace says it specializes in coworking space as well as private offices, customized headquarters, and even corporate campuses. Among the WeWork-style amenities that NowSpace touts are:

  • High-speed internet
  • Private phone booths
  • Around-the-clock building access
  • Beer on tap
  • Micro-roasted coffee
  • Bike storage

As for NowSpace, Paul dismisses any comparison between his company and WeWork.

“We are focused on running our own race. There isn’t another flexible workspace provider that can provide the range of solutions with scale that NowSpace can provide. We can accommodate companies with one person to 10,000 people,” he says via email. “We have a sound, long-term business plan, which puts us in a different category than other flexible space/coworking groups that have attempted to expand in our market.”