Before he was a billionaire, WeWork CEO Adam Neumann was broke. Here's the NYC building where he and his wife lived in a tiny apartment before he built a $47 billion company

Theo Wargo/Getty ImagesNeumann and his wife, Rebekah, in 2009, shortly after they began dating. Rebekah is WeWork’s chief brand officer and the founder and CEO of WeGrow.

WeWork CEO Adam Neumann’s coworking company is worth $US47 billion, but not too long ago, he was broke.

Neumann and his wife, Rebekah, once lived “at 166 2nd Avenue [in New York City] in an apartment smaller than this office,” he told Business Insider’s Alyson Shontell and Rich Feloni in May 2019.

In July 2019, The Wall Street Journal reported that Neumann had cashed out $US700 million from his stake in the company. Neumann reportedly sold some shares and used others as collateral for loans from JPMorgan. He used the money to purchase both private homes and commercial real estate that he then leased to WeWork, according to the Journal. Such transactions are unusual among founders because they can signal a lack of confidence in the company’s performance on the market, according to the Journal.

Neumann also set up a family office to manage his new fortune, and named it 166 2nd Financial Services after the building’s address, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Today, a studio apartment in the East Village building is renting for $US3,098, and the median monthly rent in the neighbourhood is $US3,150.

Here’s a look inside the New York building where Neumann and his wife lived before they were billionaires.


WeWork CEO Adam Neumann’s coworking company is worth $US47 billion and filed to go public in December 2018.

Getty

The Israeli-born entrepreneur launched WeWork in 2010 with his wife, Rebekah, and his business partner Miguel McKelvey. Now, it’s one of the most valuable companies in the world.

But not too long ago, Neumann was broke.


The WeWork CEO told Business Insider that he and his wife, Rebekah, at one point lived in a tiny apartment at 166 2nd Avenue in New York City.

Google Maps166 2nd Avenue.

Neumann didn’t specify the year they lived there, but it was likely sometime after 2009, the year he met his wife.


The street level of the building is occupied by a liquor store and a Mediterranean restaurant and hookah lounge, according to Google Maps.

Google Maps

As of August 2018, scaffolding was erected on the front of the building.


The building sits right across the street from St. Mark’s Church-In-The-Bowery in Manhattan’s East Village, a neighbourhood where today’s median monthly rent is $US3,150.

Google Maps

That’s lower than the median rent in Manhattan as a whole, which is $US3,325, according to StreetEasy.

In 2010, the East Village’s median rental price was about $US2,600, as compared to Manhattan’s $US2,880 at the time.


166 2nd Avenue is a 15-story, pre-war building built in 1929.

Elsa Duarte, Thomas Perry/Citi Habitats

It comes with a 24-hour doorman and laundry in the basement, according to the listing.


A studio apartment was listed for $US3,098 on May 11, 2019 and is still on the market.

Elsa Duarte, Thomas Perry/Citi HabitatsA studio apartment at 166 2nd Avenue. Neumann’s apartment not pictured.

Other studios in the building recently rented for between $US2,725 and $US3,150, while one-bedrooms have rented for between $US4,550 and $US4,695, according to StreetEasy.


The studio comes with stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, including a dishwasher.

Elsa Duarte, Thomas Perry/Citi HabitatsA studio apartment at 166 2nd Avenue. Neumann’s apartment not pictured.

It’s one of 159 units in the building.


The listing describes the apartment as “a perfect mix between elegance and location in Prime East Village.”

Elsa Duarte, Thomas Perry/Citi HabitatsA studio apartment at 166 2nd Avenue. Neumann’s apartment not pictured.

The apartment was listed with Thomas Perry and Elsa Duarte of Citi Habitats.


Today, Neumann’s real-estate holdings are much costlier than a $US3,098 studio.

Elsa Duarte, Thomas Perry/Citi HabitatsA studio apartment at 166 2nd Avenue. Neumann’s apartment not pictured.

The WeWork CEO bought a Greenwich Village townhouse for $US10.5 million in 2014, according to Bisnow. And in 2017, he spent $US35 million on property on Gramercy Park, The Real Deal reported.

He and his wife also reportedly own homes in Westchester County and the Hamptons.

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