The back-and-forth about the future of the office in the working world is one that WHOOP founder Will Ahmed hopes to resolve in Kenmore Square by making the recent investment in a 121,000 sq. ft. office space lease into a place employees want to come to.
Bucking a trend in the working world, the health and wellness company last week announced it was leasing eight floors, for a total of 121,000 sq. ft., in the new One Kenmore Commonwealth Building now under construction by Related Beal. The quickly growing company said bringing workers back to an office will be easier with new construction, and will be a place that isn’t an obligation, but rather a place to look forward to.
“We have the advantage of designing this space with a post-Covid world in mind and we will have the majority of people who are based in Boston coming to the WHOOP office regularly,” Ahmed told the Sun. “For team members in the area, we’ll likely have some employees in the office daily based on the specific needs of their jobs while others will have more flexible or hybrid schedules. The space should be one that inspires people to come to work. The days of having an office that people feel obligated to go to are over, and our goal is to create a place that is exciting where people truly want to come together.”
Ahmed said WHOOP had 120 employees at the start of 2020, but the company has grown quickly, and has had 75,000 job applications sent to them over the past year. With the new lease, they are committing a large amount of jobs to the new office location in Kenmore.
“We had 120 employees at the start of 2020 and now have more than 500 at WHOOP with half of our team based outside of Boston,” said Ahmed. “We’ve received 75,000 job applications over the past year which speaks to a heightened interest in everything we are doing to drive the future of health and wellness. Our commitment to bring 1,000 jobs to the new office in the next few years and the overall larger physical footprint are testaments to the strength of our membership and mission.”
Related Beal made the announcement last week, noting it would be a significant tenant for their Commonwealth Building now under construction. Related said the company’s move to Kenmore Square, in the heart of Boston, will add hundreds of talented employees to the neighborhood across engineering, data science, research and development, marketing, product design, talent, and more.
“WHOOP is a dynamic, homegrown Boston success story and we are thrilled to welcome them to Kenmore Square,” said Patrick Sweeney, Managing Director of Related Fund Management. “We are particularly excited that WHOOP is making the Commonwealth Building their new headquarters and look forward to helping facilitate their continued growth and innovation.”
Said Kimberly Sherman Stamler, president of Related Beal, “Kenmore Square is one of Boston’s most vibrant neighborhoods, making it the perfect home for an innovative company like WHOOP. WHOOP’s focus on vitality, physiology and innovation will benefit from One Kenmore Square’s proximity to outstanding medical, cultural and academic institutions.”
WHOOP, founded in Boston in 2012, offers industry-leading wearable technology and a monthly subscription for 24/7 health monitoring designed to optimize behavior, improve physiology and sleep, and create meaningful lifestyle changes, according to the company. WHOOP has experienced a year of hypergrowth for the membership and overall business, including a $100 million Series E financing at a $1.2 billion valuation in October 2020 that featured investors like NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes, NBA MVP Kevin Durant, and PGA TOUR Major Champions Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. Over just the past few months, WHOOP has launched official partnerships with the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour, CrossFit, the U.S. Army, and schools like Howard University and The University of Southern California.
“Boston uniquely blends together world-class education, healthcare, technology, and sports, which align perfectly with our mission at WHOOP to unlock human performance,” said Ahmed. “We intend to bring 1,000 jobs to our new global headquarters and look forward to calling Boston our home for years to come.”
The new lease would account for a little more than one-third of the total square footage of the Commonwealth Building, which is listed as a 326,000 sq. ft. transit-oriented destination.
The Commonwealth Building, located on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Deerfield Street, includes five roof decks with unobstructed views of Kenmore Square and the Charles River, and more than 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. WHOOP is expected to take occupancy of the building in mid-2022.
Immediately adjacent to the Commonwealth Building is the Beacon Building, a seven-story, 198,000 square-foot asset currently being developed as a Class A life science building. As part of the One Kenmore Square development, Related Beal said it would be delivering public realm and community enhancements, including expanded sidewalks on Deerfield and Beacon Streets, new street trees and seating, additional greenspace, and a buffered bike lane.