After a year on the market, WeLive offers market prices for community living. Fred Katayama reports.
Twenty-four year old Jim Decicco moved into a WeLive apartment building in Crystal City, Virginia with his two younger brothers after college. (SOUNDBITE) JIM DECICCO, CEO, WELIVE TENNANT AND SUNNIVA COFFEE, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "These guys have furniture, they have shaving equipment, they have Wi-Fi, they have TVs. It's too good to be true for the price. And we moved in right away. We felt the community aspect of it. It was like we're still in college. We're fresh out of school. And this was like dorm room living for adults, except everybody shared this sort of energy and ambition, which was contagious. And I said, after one month of living there, I said we're never moving, like we got it, we have to live at WeLive forever." WeLive is a subsidiary of WeWork, a shared-office space company. It's based on the same idea. But instead of offices, people share apartments. WeLive launched a year ago with one building in Crystal City and another on Wall Street in Manhattan. That's where the Decicco brothers moved into recently. They struck a deal. WeLive lets them stay in a three-bedroom apartment for a year in exchange for supplying its convenince stores with bottled coffee from their company, Sunniva. But the brothers are the exception. The rest of the the tennants pay market price: $1900 per person for a bedroom in a shared apartment or $3,050 for a private studio. Head of WeLive, James Woods, says it's a fair market price, and a good deal for all the ammenities and the opportunities to make connections. (SOUNDBITE) JAMES WOODS, HEAD, WELIVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We think that there's a great opportunity to provide community to people's apartment living, and, with WeLive, we've really focused on making the experience very easy for our members." Marcus Moufarrige runs a company similar to WeWork called Servcorp and has been watching - and cheering - its growth over the years. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARCUS MOUFARRIGE, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, SERVCORP, SAYING: "I think that they're really excellent marketers, both to their customers and to the market to raise more money. As everybody knows, because of their outrageous valuation, I personally think that the WeLive concept is going to be a little harder, and I guess the progress that they've made in terms of the rollout is proving that to be true. Because the question is whether the residential real estate market needs to be disrupted or if it's actually flexible enough." Recently, the chief executive of WeWork, Adam Neumann, said the startup is now generating $1 billion a year in revenue. He also said it will go public, but did give any details.