WeWork opens its doors to communities affected by disaster

Community teams in Las Vegas and Dallas provide space to displaced residents

Akira Nishimura, who runs a U.S.-based wedding-planning service for Japanese couples, woke up on the morning of June 17 to find that his company, Watabe Wedding Corporation, no longer had a place of business. The two-story office building at 3900 Paradise Road in Las Vegas that housed numerous enterprises, including Watabe, had gone up in flames.

Three days later, Nishimura and his colleagues toured WeWork Two Summerlin, and immediately signed up for a four-person office, encouraged by WeWork’s offer of a month’s free use and discounted rates for extended stays to all the companies affected by the Paradise Road fires.

“We wanted to help people get their businesses moving forward after what had happened,” said Amalie Zinsser, community director of WeWork Las Vegas, which opened in early June. “It might be hard for office tenants to find a space at short notice. [Here] they can get moved in quickly and get ramped up and going. Even if people want to come in and use the common areas, have water and coffee and a quiet place to work—we are here.”

Recently, other WeWork facilities have also jumped in to help local residents in the wake of calamity. On the afternoon of June 10 in Dallas, strong storms caused a construction site crane to collapse onto the adjacent five-story Elan City Lights Apartments building. Tragically, one person died, five others were injured, and numerous people were displaced. One local business, Rent My Wardrobe, was given free pop-up shop space inside WeWork Victory Plaza, where residents of the damaged building could come in and “shop” for clothing that had been donated.

“We want to do whatever we can for these residents, and I think it’s amazing to see everyone banding together to make it happen,” Rent My Wardrobe founder Rachel Sipperley told CBSlocal.com.

Back at WeWork in Las Vegas, Nishimura is also meeting the hassles of dislocation head-on—and finding it’s easier with help from others. “Every tenant is looking for space and (a way to) move on,” he said. “We are still struggling to get back to normal.”

The three Dallas WeWork locations—Thanksgiving Tower, Victory Plaza, and 1920 McKinney Ave—have made an open-door, complimentary coworking offer to affected residents, said Blaze Whites, special projects lead for Dallas-Fort Worth. And shortly after the incident, Rent My Wardrobe and WeWork hosted a Sip, Shop, and Self-Care event “to pamper the residents displaced from Elan City Lights Apartments,” said Whites.

Affected residents seem appreciative of the assistance. Shelby Cable, whose apartment was in direct line of the collapsed crane, went to the Rent My Wardrobe space to pick up much-needed clothing, telling cbsdfw.com how moved she was to see firsthand just how communities mobilize to help those in need.

“You always wonder if something were to happen to me, who at the end of the day would be there?” said Cable. “And then you don’t realize when something does happen… just how many people are there.”

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