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Capital Business
Posted at 05:57 PM ET, 02/26/2013

WorkSpaces moves to close offices; backs out of lease

District-based workplace consultant and furniture dealer WorkSpaces LLC is closing offices and facing financial hardship, according to departing company employees.

The employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by management to discuss the company, said management informed employees on Friday that the District headquarters and satellite offices in Baltimore and New York would be closing immediately.

Thomas McGuire, founder and president of WorkSpaces, could not be reached despite repeated attempts. He did not respond to e-mail messages or calls to his cellphone, and his cellphone’s voicemail box was full.

WorkSpaces principal Gregory Buja also did not return requests for comment.

On Monday afternoon, the company’s Web site and Twitter account were no longer operational. The company had also backed out of plans to lease 20,817 square feet in the former Wonder Bread building at 641 S St. NW, according to Norman Jemal of Douglas Development, which owns the building.

The business of selling design strategy and furniture to office users, in which WorkSpaces specialized, seemed to be on the rise. Founded five years ago, the company employed dozens of people in the District and appeared to be in aggressive expansion mode.

Jemal announced in October that WorkSpaces would be the Wonder Bread building’s first tenant. In a Feb. 7, 2012, news release, WorkSpaces announced four new management hires “as part of the company’s national growth plans.”

“These new additions to WorkSpaces represent how well our unique service model resonates in the marketplace,” McGuire said in the news release. “This model successfully translates from our headquarters in Washington, D.C., to both New York and Baltimore and we plan for these new hires to help accelerate our growth in at least two additional markets in 2012.”

There have been few signs to this point that WorkSpaces might be struggling. However on Feb. 6, a West Virginia contractor, R&D Installations, sued WorkSpaces for breach of contract. The lawsuit alleges that WorkSpaces failed to pay R&D for four weeks’ worth of work it performed in 2011 on Navy facilities at 701 S. Courthouse Rd., in Arlington. R&D said the unpaid bills amounted to $126,931.27.

WorkSpaces has not responded to the suit, according to court filings.

Follow Jonathan O’Connell on Twitter: @oconnellpostbiz

By  |  05:57 PM ET, 02/26/2013

Tags:  Workspaces, Douglas Development, commercial real estate

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