Travis Kalanick cooks up a real estate empire

Uber co-founder is betting big on the ghost kitchen business with $130M investment

Travis Kalanick (Getty; iStock)
Travis Kalanick (Getty; iStock)

Uber co-founder and ex-CEO Travis Kalanick has quietly amassed a real estate empire over the past two years.

Companies tied to Kalanick’s CloudKitchens, a startup that rents available space to food delivery businesses, have snapped up more than 40 properties across the country for more than $130 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Kalanick’s assets include closed restaurants, auto-body shops and warehouses in cities like Las Vegas, Nashville, and Portland, Oregon.

CloudKitchens is a “ghost kitchen” operation, which rents out non-traditional spaces to businesses that want to do food delivery without owning or leasing a restaurant space of their own. It’s similar to co-working or co-living, where companies can work with landlords on flexible terms at cheaper prices.

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Reef Technology and Kitchen United, which are backed by SoftBank Group, are also emerging players in the ghost kitchen space.

Companies tied to CloudKitchens bought a vacant space in Miami Beach in May and paid $6.6 million for an industrial property in Queens in March, according to the Journal. (New York’s City Council has debated more oversight of these businesses.)

CloudKitchens raised $400 million from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund. The company’s acquisitions have been financed by Goldman Sachs with loans.

[WSJ] — Keith Larsen