Rachel KaserInternet Culture Writer
Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.
A new report today confirmed that Airbnb is investing in the real estate market — specifically, an upscale apartment complex in Kissimmee, Florida, set to open sometime next year.
Newgard Development Group will oversee the construction of the building, which will be called “Niido by Airbnb” (apparently a play on the Spanish word for “nest”). The building will have 300 units in total. It sounds fairly plush (if not a little hotel-like), featuring keyless entry, concierge services, and long-term storage.
The amenities are all designed to encourage use by Airbnb customers. Tenants will be able to rent their unit out for up to 180 nights a year via a special version of the Airbnb app. Jaja Jackson, global partnerships director at Airbnb, told Bloomberg:
We’re trying to make sure that home-sharing is not done in the shadows. This partnership shows how landlords, developers and Airbnb can work together.
Airbnb has faced criticism for years over the way it turns residential housing areas into ad hoc hotels. An Airbnb-specific housing development in one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country would allow it to skirt those complaints by virtue of being designed to be profitable for both the business and the landlord.
One wonders what effect this will have on Kissimmee’s other Airbnb hosts. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Kissimmee, which is about ten miles away from Walt Disney World, is the third most Airbnb-ed city in the state, after Miami Beach and Miami.
Also, it’s not clear how much Airbnb gains from the building, and whether it keeps a portion of the revenue from both long- and short-term tenants. We’ve contacted Airbnb for more information.
This seems like it could expand the Airbnb market, but it also feels like an odd turn for the company built to help ordinary citizens rent their homes. Airbnb having its own properties with amenities an ordinary home can’t offer might take the focus away from less glamorous locations that are nevertheless a vital source of income for the owner.
h/t Financial Times
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