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WeWork expands again, leasing space for 1,700 desks in the Back Bay

WeWork has been expanding at a rapid clip in Boston.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe staff

WeWork just keeps growing in Boston.

The co-working giant has signed a lease for two floors in 501 Boylston St. in the Back Bay. The space, about 120,000 square feet, will have room for 1,700 desks, and WeWork aims to open it this summer.

The New York-based operator of shared workspaces has been on an expansion tear of late, announcing six locations in Boston and Cambridge since the start of 2017, along with its original two offices, near South Station and in Fort Point, which have been open since 2014.

With 501 Boylston, WeWork will occupy nearly 650,000 square feet of office space in the city, according to figures from Costar, a real estate data firm. That’s more than many of Boston’s biggest companies have.


And, indeed, while the company built its name by offering flexible, by-the-month leases and high-level services to solo workers and small startups, big-name companies make up a growing share of the customer base.

Tenants at WeWork’s first Back Bay location, 31 St. James, include outposts of Liberty Mutual and Amazon, while General Electric’s Current division operates from the WeWork near South Station. And two full floors at 501 Boylston — a building that takes up nearly an entire city block — will offer room to rent to larger businesses, said Dave McLaughlin, WeWork’s Northeast general manager.

“The larger floorplates at 501 Boylston allow us to introduce a new product that caters specifically to the increasing number of mid-market and enterprise members at WeWork,” he said.

And for the building — which long served as the headquarters for New England Mutual Life Insurance but today hosts an array of tenants — adding a busy co-working space will bring new energy to the place, said William Abramowitz, director at TH Real Estate.

“We believe the Back Bay continues to be a vibrant submarket in downtown Boston, as validated by WeWork joining 501 Boylston Street’s dynamic tenant roster,” he said in a statement.


Tim Logan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.