WeWork founder Adam Neumann has burned through billions of dollars in his rash attempts at scaling WeWork. Yet somehow, he is still a multimillionaire, and he has decided that he's not done trying to "re-billionize" - at least, not yet.
Over the past year or so, Neumann has been quietly acquiring majority stakes in buildings with more than 4,000 apartments, with an aggregate value of more than $1 billion. He reportedly owns buildings in Miami, Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and other US cities, according to court and property records and people familiar with the transactions. Many of these investments occurred within the past year, according to WSJ.
And so, after trying to shake up the sleepy corporate real estate market, Neumann has pivoted to focus on the rental market.
One family friend who spoke with WSJ said Neumann is "excited" about multifamily housing.
D.J. Mauch, a partner in Mr. Neumann’s family office, said: “Since the spring of 2020, we have been excited about multifamily apartment living in vibrant cities where a new generation of young people increasingly are choosing to live, the kind of cities that are redefining the future of living. We’re excited to play a role in that future.”
Another individual identified only as a source close to Neumann told WSJ that he has invested in "a number" of startups, many related to real-estate.
This isn't Neumann's first foray into renting housing. During his time at WeWork, the company briefly ran a side business called "WeLive" where industrious young people could live together in a sprawling, dorm-like environment. The WeLive pods became notorious for the excessive partying by their tenants, and issue that was reflected in the culture at WeWork.
WeLive had buildings in New York and Virginia, but the company shut down the service after Neumann left in late 2019, before the pandemic would hammer the company's business, forcing it to effectively shut down while nickle-and-diming its customers to produce badly needed cash. Plans for an IPO disintegrated due to concerns about Neumann's erratic behavior and management style. Many investors raised concerns about the concentrated control that rested with Neumann and his family.
WeWork finally went public via the SPAC route late last year at a fraction of the company's peak valuation.
His real-estate holdings include two apartment buildings in Atlanta and are mostly recently built properties with more than 200 units and lots of common amenities.
An entity tied to Neumann owns Society Las Olas, a residential building in booming Fort Lauderdale, Fla. according to court records. The 639-unit apartment building includes a co-working space, a putting green and a barber shop.
Neumann acquired his first stakes in buildings while he was at WeWork, which incentivized him to pursue this new line of business. His properties also include buildings in suburban areas, which has grown rapidly as more workers move to remote working environments. He owns one building in Norwalk, Conn., a bustling suburb in Connecticut.
Neumann isn't only investing in the buildings themselves: In 2020, be bought a big stake in Alfred Club, a company that provides concierge services such as picking up and dropping off groceries and laundry, mostly at "luxury" rental buildings.
This all would suggest that the WeWork founder hasn't given up on repairing his shattered reputation.