AirBnB Is Building ‘Apartments’ To Extend Their Home-Sharing Reach

10.24.17 1 year ago


Room-sharing company Airbnb, along with the Newgard Development Group, will complete “Niido powered by Airbnb,” a 324-unit apartment building in Kissimmee, Florida.

The apartment building is slated to be one of many like it around the country — where units will come with the added promise of extra income from Airbnb and less work for the renter as the building itself will carry out administration. Basically, it’s a time-share motel.

Harvey Hernandez of South Florida presented the idea to the company’s cofounder Joe Gebbia when Hernandez noticed how many people carried suitcases in and out of the condo where his office was located. Room sharing was happening before his eyes, but there was no support for it, and no community. Hernandez’s idea was timely, as Airbnb has been looking for ways to engage multi-family apartment and condo communities in light of subletting and building access restrictions. In Florida, specifically, rentals run unusually high and subletting is often prohibited. The company recently provided users with the Friendly Building Program to help navigate restrictions, but Niido takes it to another level.

Hernandez’s company and Airbnb have gone through a series of development sprints to think of all the best ways to support guests and hosts. JaJa Jackson, Airbnb’s director of housing partnerships, said, “We thought about every element, from the curb when you approach, to the wayfinding and contacting your host.” Floor plans include large common areas for travelers to meet up, and with 25% of the booking fee going to subsidize local programming such as cooking lessons or art classes (the other 75% goes to the host), the building itself will create a sense of community for guests. The floorplan has large home offices that could easily become spare bedrooms, and nooks for Murphy beds. The kitchens and bathrooms are made of materials that are tough enough to endure various guests and easy to clean, and there are lock boxes in which to hide valuables. A keyless entry system with unique codes for each guest that expire after their stay will cure the building access problem, and an app will manage home-sharing and apartment services like wi-fi access and maintenance.

Hernandez said, “Right now we’re focused on Florida, but we’re considering other markets.” Specifically, the company is looking at larger cities in the U.S., because those are the same cities where rent is very high. Renters will be able to add some income to help maintain their living spaces, Airbnb will be able to work around subletting restrictions, and Hernandez will be able to expand his real estate development company nationally.

It’s a cozy situation for everyone involved. Hopefully Hernandez and AirBnB make sure that this new property takes the company’s past discrimination issues head on, too.

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