3rd Ward Shuts Down. Is Expansion to Philadelphia to Blame?

3rd ward philadelphia

Photo of Philadelphia’s 3rd Ward location via philly.3rdward.com

UPDATE: See here for the latest news.

The New York Observer reports that 3rd Ward, the creative co-working space headquartered in Brooklyn, abruptly shut down operations and is in serious financial trouble. 3rd Ward opened a Philadelphia location last year at Fourth and Thompson, and that seems to have put a serious strain on the company. The FAQ on a discontinued crowd-funding campaign includes the Philadelphia location both as a success and a challenge.

Successes. This year we opened in Philadelphia as our second location…

Challenges. Supporting geographic expansion has been costly and a change we made to one of our memberships, in an effort to improve it, caused a downtick in an important revenue stream for us. The full impact of these events took time to reveal itself. Meanwhile we continued to invest in improvements to our space, team and curriculum.


The new location in Philadelphia is requiring more capital than expected to achieve profitability or reach cash flow break-even.

As for the Philadelphia location, a DesignPhiladelphia event scheduled there has been cancelled, and the phone number is answered by a worrisomely automated, generic voice mail.

Update: Brooklyn’s Creative Community 3rd Ward Shutters Without Warning [Observer]

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  • JRob

    This makes me sad. I had a chance to meet a few of the managers there and everyone seemed excited about the space.

  • http://www.christopherwink.com/ Christopher Wink

    Official letter to instructors in Philly closing it down: http://technical.ly/philly/2013/10/10/3rd-ward-is-officially-closed/

  • Gumbopolis

    It’s sad that over-expansion is leading to a loss for Brooklyn too. Maybe they can re-open in NY when the dust settles.

    • RVZS

      They are crookish and should hide at this point. No one would want to do business with them.

  • 3W Refugee

    I can assure you that Philly is NOT to blame. As a former 3W employee, it became obvious as early as May that there was not a viable plan for the new location to succeed. No marketing plan, no staff development for new employees, and no pathway towards success.

    The philadelphia staff was constantly underfunded and overworked, and received virtually no support from us in brooklyn. But I know that everyone there truly cared and was incredibly frustrated at the conditions thrust upon them. All we could really do is watch.

    Combine it with the fact that the company as a whole was cash poor, we could not pay teachers AND staff. The led to a cycle of frustration that affected everyone involved. If you want to look for a culprit as to who or what is to blame, look no further than hubris and poor planning from brooklyn.