After a decade growing in Boston, Workbar is branching out.
The co-working operator said Monday that it plans to open its first out-of-town location early next year in San Francisco. Workbar will partner with Japanese co-working company fabbit to run a 9,000-square-foot office on the top floor of a 22-story office building in San Francisco’s Financial District, two blocks from Union Square.
“We have spent 10 years perfecting our coworking model and we are excited to partner with fabbit to bring a productive, innovative workspace to a city that has so many of the same qualities that we love about Boston,” Workbar CEO Sarah Travers said in a statement.
It’s a big move for Workbar, which — unlike rivals that have scooped up downtown space in top-tier markets nationwide — has so far focused on blanketing Greater Boston with a hub-and-spoke model that lets members work downtown or closer to home in the suburbs. Nearly two years ago — after taking a big new investment from fabbit parent company Appamanshop Holdings — it began scouting for a second market. The company chose San Francisco, where fabbit sees opportunities to connect West Coast and Asian markets.
“We are thrilled to open a new location in San Francisco, partnering with Workbar,” fabbit CEO Yasunari Tanaka said. “We look forward to being an integral part of the Bay Area startup ecosystem and to further enhance our presence.”
The move also comes amid tumult at industry giant WeWork, which faltered on the brink of going public earlier this year, ousted its founder and CEO, and is cutting thousands of jobs. Office industry experts, however, argue that many of those troubles are specific to WeWork, which has gobbled up millions of square feet of space in pricey downtown markets across the country in the last couple of years, and are not applicable to slower-growing competitors. In fact, some industry observers say WeWork’s stumble could create opportunities for Workbar and other smaller upstarts.