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First Look: Inside Philly's First WeWork in Northern Liberties

Peek inside the former Schmidt's Brewery's transformation

Today marks the opening of Philly's first-ever WeWork, a co-working office space that has made its rounds to 28 cities around the world since first opening in 2010.

WeWork has taken up residence at the former Schmidt's Brewery in Northern Liberties and features 30,000 square feet of offices, both private and open, and plenty of entertaining spaces to spare—not to mention three kegs, stadium stair-seating, and gourmet kitchens to boot.

"A bunch of our team is from Philadelphia to begin with, so this city has always been on our mind," said Dave McLaughlin, general manager of Eastern US and Canada during a recent tour of WeWork. "Northern Liberties just felt like a part of town that has all of this great stuff percolating."

Curbed Philly toured the space at the 11th hour, just as construction crews and the design team were finishing up last-minute decorations and installing signage. As with all location, this WeWork was designed by the company's in-house team of 140 architects and decorators.

But there are architectural details and spaces unique to this specific location. "This is an interesting one because we allocated a greater space to event space," says McLaughlin. "We felt like one of the ways we could really contribute to what’s happening in Northern Liberties and Philadelphia's innovation community is to have spaces where they could really come together."

On the second level there's a large catering kitchen, plus a bar with three kegs, a game room, and a lounging area. Much of the former factory's raw industrial details remain—there's an old kiln where malt was brewed and large metal sliding doors throughout—but the designers have also incorporated warm colors, furniture, and rugs to warm up the space.

To date, WeWork is currently half booked, with members that include MeetMe and City Fitness, and they expect to be fully-booked in a couple of months. Says Kelly Burgart, Philadelphia City Lead for WeWork, "There's a pretty dynamic mix of people."

McLaughlin adds, "If we can understand a city and bring offerings that matches with city’s strengths and what it needs, that makes it a more fun and energetic place."

Another WeWork location is scheduled to open this fall at 1430 Walnut Street.