Aug 16, 2022 - News

Ousted WeWork founder's new real estate venture could start in Miami

Adam Neumann, in a white t-shirt that says "MADE BY WE," points at an audience member from stage.
Adam Neumann at a WeWork event in 2019. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WeWork

Adam Neumann — the charismatic and controversial WeWork co-founder who led the co-working company through a spectacular rise and fall — is rethinking the residential housing market, and he's already got stakes in South Florida.

What's happening: Neumann's new real estate company, Flow, has raised a reported $350 million (at a more than $1 billion valuation) from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, the New York Times reported Monday.

  • Details of the business plan haven't been made public, but indicators suggest that Neumann has a vision to do with residential real estate what he did with offices: bring a sense of community to properties and develop a widely recognizable brand.

Catch up fast: Neumann made offices seem like fun, communal destinations, exciting the commercial real estate industry and leading WeWork to a $47 billion valuation.

  • However, as its troubling financials came to light in the fall of 2019, a planned IPO was canceled and Neumann was forced out of the company. WeWork is now valued at around $4 billion.
  • With Flow, Neumann aims to develop a brand that offers consistent service and community features, per the Times. It would own and operate properties that Neumann has bought, as well as properties owned by other parties.

Zoom in: Back in January, the Wall Street Journal revealed that since WeWork's implosion, Neumann-controlled entities have purchased thousands of apartment units in South Florida, Atlanta and Nashville, including:

  • Society Las Olas: a 34-story, 639-unit building in Fort Lauderdale
  • Caoba: a 43-story, 444-unit tower in downtown Miami
  • Yard 8: a 387-unit building in Midtown Miami

Plus: A developer linked to Neumann secured a construction loan for a new apartment tower at Miami Worldcenter, adjacent to Caoba, the South Florida Business Journal reported in February.

Between the lines: Earlier this year, Tim Peterson of Boca Raton-based Altman Cos., which had been hired to manage some of those Miami properties, suggested to Bisnow that Neumann's vision was to create a communal vibe.

  • Peterson said that could be potentially nurtured through programming such as fitness events, a speaker series, or volunteering events.
  • Peterson did not immediately return a call yesterday from Axios.

Whatever the vibe at the properties, owning apartment buildings seems sure to be a profitable venture as homeownership gets increasingly out of reach for more Americans.

What they're saying: Monday's news led to some critics calling Neumann a swindler and mocking investors for supporting his new venture.

  • In a blog post, Andreessen Horowitz partner Marc Andreessen said Flow will tackle the complex issue of rental housing and the changing world of remote work.
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