WeWork is working to push into real estate investment much to the disapproval of many landlords and industry insiders.
“A lot of people originally thought of the shared office-space providers as bringing tenants,” said Tony Malkin, CEO of Empire State Realty Trust. “But I think now we’ve seen — particularly with WeWork and other providers’ expansion into the enterprise solution — that it’s really much more about disrupting the relationship of tenants to landlords, of tenants to brokers, of brokers to landlords.”
Real estate companies, such as CBRE, are delving into the flexible office market as well. Some brokers have reported concern that WeWork is cutting them out of deals
WeWork is still growing at a steady pace and is valued at more than $40 billion thanks to SoftBank investments.
“By participating in virtually all the elements of the real estate food chain, WeWork will find themselves in deeply competitive situations with others,” Cedrik Lachance, director of research on real estate investment trusts at Green Street Advisors said.
Just last month, it was reported that WeWork was launching an investment fund called ARK with plans to purchase its first 4.4 acre development in Austin.
The fund followed the company’s attempt into real estate purchasing, launching WeWork Property Advisors last year where they agreed to buy the acclaimed Lord & Taylor building in Manhattan for $850 million.