The Bed and Breakfast Fire Sale?

by Mark Wellborn

The Bed and Breakfast Fire Sale?: Figure 1
DC Guesthouse

Either the bed and breakfast business is struggling in DC or B&B owners are recognizing that now is a good time to sell.

UrbanTurf currently counts three bed and breakfasts on the market within the city limits: The 10-bedroom Bloomingdale Inn at 2415 1st Street NW is listed for $1.3 million; the 12-bedroom Kalorama Guest House at 2850 27th Street NW is listed for $1.495 million; and the 12-bedroom DC Guesthouse at 1337 10th Street NW is for sale for $4 million. The latter two properties went on the market in the past ten days.

While it may just be a coincidence that these properties are all on the market at the same time, they represent a solid chunk of the 20 or so bed and breakfasts that operate across the city.

“I don’t necessarily think that business is bad,” Suzanne Des Marais of Urban Pace told UrbanTurf. “But the property tends to be worth more than the business, so it is not that surprising that people are trying to sell.” Despite that perspective, Des Marais, who is listing The Bloomingdale Inn, says that it has been filled to capacity lately.

The Bed and Breakfast Fire Sale?: Figure 2
The Bloomingdale Inn

The more plausible reason for the rush of boutique lodging listings could be that the owners of these properties are opportunistically hopping into the market just as the multi-family market is picking up. The three properties above are well-located and large enough to be split up into small condo projects by a savvy developer.

“Developers are buying again,” Des Marais said. “So that may be where the impetus is coming from to put them on the market.”

Of course, the obvious reason may just be the enormous return on investment that some of these properties offer: 1337 10th Street NW was purchased in 1999 for $392,000; it is now listed for ten times that amount.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_bed_and_breakfast_fire_sale/2127


  1. David Salter said at 12:41 pm on Wednesday June 2, 2010:
    Sometimes people sell simply because a time has come in their lives where it no longer makes sense to stay. It is unfair to speculate in a vacuum about motivation - especially negatively! 1337 10th Street has added enormously to their surrounding community through their courage to run a business and develop a property when few were willing to do so. Along the way they have collected local and national awards and recognition. The market will determine the ROI but the community ROI has been enormous. Naylor Court has taken on the appearance of a "mews" with tasteful container plantings lining the alley, thanks to 1337 10th Street. We extend a hand of congratulations to the DC Guest House for all they have done and wish them well in their future.
  1. Ephron said at 1:14 pm on Wednesday June 2, 2010:
    @ David Salter -- Sometimes people sell because the time is right, but three bed and breakfast owners selling at the same time? Seems peculiar, taking nothing away from what the DC Guest House or any of the other inns brought to the community.
  1. Emil Ali said at 1:37 pm on Wednesday June 2, 2010:
    There is a lot of mini bnb's that have opened up in the city where homeowners rent their spare bedrooms by the week or night.
  1. SP said at 2:46 pm on Wednesday June 2, 2010:
    I love 1337 10th Street! I hope a nice new owner moves in and keeps up the property.
  1. maria said at 5:16 pm on Wednesday June 2, 2010:
    Not all that surprising. Running a bed and breakfast is hard work, from what I hear. It may sound nice to have your own inn, but getting up every morning to serve annoying folks can get tiresome quickly.
  1. Ira Hersh said at 6:12 pm on Wednesday June 2, 2010:
    What is not mentioned is that they owner of the house has put in over $1,000,000 in updates to the property since they purchased it in 1999. Also the asking price is for the real estate not the Bed and Breakfast. Business happens to be thriving. Should one want to purchase the house and the busniness the price would more than the $4,000,000 asking price for the house. Price for the actual bed and breakfast business is TBD.
  1. joe said at 3:29 am on Thursday June 3, 2010:
    I have to agree with Ephron. Three B&Bs; on the market right now downtown...seems strange.
  1. Bed Breakfast said at 2:11 pm on Thursday June 3, 2010:
    DC Guesthouse looks impressive as a house and b&b. My wife and I are coming to DC again soon so we may look at booking. Thanks for the interesting info Mark.

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