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Pop-up hotels turn empty apartments into cash cows


Vornado Realty's The Bartlett apartment tower in Arlington, Va. will start daily rentals for 50 units Jan. 13, just in time for the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump.


Vornado is working with a new service called WhyHotel to implement the strategy.


More than 500 of the Bartlett’s 699 apartments are already rented, Fudin said, with most of the WhyHotel spaces grouped together on two floors.


The rentals, which during the high-demand inauguration week range from $264 to $530 per night, will have the same full kitchen and laundry as other units in the building and access to the rooftop deck, outdoor swimming pool, gym and yoga studio.


The spaces will be advertised on Vornado’s online site and on others, such as VRBO, HomeAway and Airbnb, Fudin said.


The apartment industry has lagged behind the hotel and office industries in joining the sharing economy, says Newmark Grubb Knight Frank's Greg Leisch. WhyHotel and Vornado's arrangement is a step in that direction.


The concept of re-using other kinds of space for pop-up hotels started in the last recession, when enterprising landlords sought ways to make use of empty offices in Midtown Manhattan. Design firm Pink Cloud won an award for its Midtown Pop-Up Hotel concept, an imaginary system that uses flat-pack modules to quickly convert vacant office space into hospitality centers. So far it hasn't been put into place.




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