Airbnb is expanding from an apartment-sharing app to a full fledged real-estate firm.

Local sources in Austin who preferred to not be named revealed this week that Niido, a hospitality group, is partnering with Airbnb to build what they will call “48 East,” a large apartment building that sets for construction in the coming months.

People want to “stay” where they keep it weird

Austin, Texas, which has the unofficial motto of “keep Austin weird,” attracts scores of young couples, and working professionals who are flocking to the city for work and desire to be part of Austin’s rich arts, culture and music scenes that thrive in the region.

The “Airbnb tower” is another venture Airbnb is working in this year, according to Grit Daily’s sources.

The building will offer up units for sale to anyone in the 300 thousands range for a studio and up to a million dollars for multiple bedrooms. Airbnb plans to charge 25% off the top and “handles everything.”

Many might wonder whether this project is feasible, but Kissimmee, Florida already has a building with the same concept under Airbnb’s auspices. The blueprint for a project of this scale has already been successfully completed by Airbnb along with their partners at Niido are poised to ride the wave of creating more options for customers who don’t want to be tied down to restrictive rental leases.

Airbnb has faced push back from  local state government, community agencies and the hotel industry, many alleging Airbnb exacerbates housing shortages and contributing to a rise in expensive housing. Likely (coming) opposition to the “Airbnb Tower” might blame Airbnb for creating a perfect storm of sorts that inevitably drive up the cost of living in major cities; making it unattainable for many.

Though, with the 48 East housing initiative, Airbnb aims to create a more communal living arrangement for guests, skepticism remains.

Pearlstone Partners, the developer for the Austin, TX location, suddenly changed its use from condominium to rentals for “48 East.”

Airbnb hopes to create more rental options for customers. Its next target might be Austin, Texas’ Rainey Street. 

Here’s the description of the Orlando Niido project, straight from Airbnb and its development partner, the Miami-based Newgard Development Group:

“Airbnb, the world’s leading hospitality company, and Miami-based Newgard Development Group today announced that they are collaborating to support home sharing in new apartment buildings that will be optimized for home sharing and flexible living. The first project, a 324 unit building in Kissimmee, Florida, will be branded as “Niido Powered by Airbnb.”

Residents will have the opportunity to share their units for up to 180 days per year and access a range of tools provided by Niido, including a new app that is integrated with Airbnb and supports checking in and assisting guests.

The project is considered the first in a series of developments by Newgard that will support home sharing in communities across the Southeastern United States. Under the partnership:

Airbnb and Niido will work together to design new units and buildings that include features like keyless entry and shared common spaces that make them optimal for home sharing. Niido will fully support the costs of construction and retain full ownership of the buildings.

Niido tenants will sign annual leases and will be permitted to home share individual rooms or their entire units through Airbnb for up to 180 nights per year. Tenants who choose to share their homes will be part of Airbnb’s Friendly Buildings Program, in which hosts and landlords share revenues generated from home sharing.

Niido tenants will have access to a new app fully integrated with Airbnb. The App will enable tenants to manage guest stays remotely by triggering services provided by a “MasterHost” at each property who will assist with items like guest check-in, cleaning and linen service.”

Airbnb Press Release, October 12, 2017


For more real estate coverage at Grit Daily, check out this expert’s take on New York’s commercial market after Amazon’s HQ2 exit.