Hot on the heels of raising $355 million in venture capital, WeWork has made its biggest hire to-date: Todd Bassen, current head of New York acquisitions for Invesco, is joining the shared office space provider as co-head of real estate, The Real Deal has learned. According to sources, he will be working alongside the company’s current head of real estate, Mark Lapidus.
The move hasn’t been finalized, and Bassen will tie up about $600 million worth of deals at Invesco in the coming weeks before moving over, according to sources.
Bassen’s hire is a major coup for WeWork, and marks another step in its evolution from fledgling startup to real estate giant. After its latest funding round in December 2014, the company is now valued at a whopping $5 billion. Investors in the company include Boston Properties’ chair Mort Zuckerman, Goldman Sachs Group and Harvard Management Company.
Since joining Invesco from Vornado Realty Trust in 2010, Bassen has overseen a veritable buying spree. In 2013 alone, the investment firm bought the rental building Mercedes House at 550 West 54th Street for $170 million and dished out $240 million for a stake in the former Jehovah’s Witnesses Dumbo complex now known as Dumbo Heights. In November 2014, the firm paid $175 million for a stake in the Factory Building at 30-30 47th Avenue in Long Island City.
Invesco sold its stake in the Helmsley Building at 230 Park Avenue to RXR Realty earlier this month in a deal that values the office tower at $1.2 billion.
Bassen is the latest in a long line of commercial real estate executives that have ditched established firms for tech startups. The list includes Nick Romito, formerly of Murray Hill Properties and now of VTS, Michael Mandel, formerly of Grubb Ellis and now of CompStak, and Brandon Weber, formerly of CBRE and now of Hightower, among many others.