Why Not Hotel? NoMa Developer Exploring Converting Four Floors of Apartments into Short-Term Rentals

by Nena Perry-Brown

Why Not Hotel? NoMa Developer Exploring Converting Four Floors of Apartments into Short-Term Rentals: Figure 1
Rendering of Union Place development.

The rebranding of the apartel continues.

Developers Toll Brothers and AECOM Capital are exploring the idea of seeking a modification of consequence to Union Place, a 14-story mixed-use development at 200 K Street NE (map) in order to set aside some apartments for short-term rental.

Representatives from the development team gave an informational presentation to a meeting of the ANC 6C Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee to get feedback on potential plans to convert the bottom four floors of apartments at the building into furnished short-term rentals.

Approval of this conversion would affect the status of 70 to 90 of the 525 apartments. The development, which would also include 13,000 square feet of retail and services, is expected to deliver early next year. 

While this may be awfully close (literally and figuratively) to what Equity Residential has planned for the apartment complex a block away at 100 K, the Union Place developers do not envision the concept as a Why Hotel-style pop-up hotel solely during lease-up.

"Our preference would be to have the leeway for it to be a permanent arrangement," a representative from Toll Brothers said. "We certainly understand the concerns with what happened at Station House; that's the last thing we want to happen," he continued, citing the nearby apartment building which almost had its Certificate of Occupancy revoked for excessive short-term rental activity. The short-term rental units proposed at Union Place would be administered by a third-party with hotel/residential experience like Ritz-Carlton or Westin.

Committee members and neighbors in attendance largely expressed, at best, discomfort with the idea, particularly in light of already-worsening traffic and additional expected development in the immediate area. The juxtaposition of this proposal with the conversation surrounding the short-term rental regulation bill currently pending in DC Council was not lost on those present either.

"You're taking more than 15 percent of your housing and you want to convert it to a hotel use...in the exact same instance that this industry has lobbied the city hard to prevent small-fry people from doing this exact same thing, and it takes a lot of chutzpah to do that," committee member Dru Tallant said. "It's pretty transparent that the industry looked at the Airbnb-type model and said, 'oh, this is working, people like this, let's push that out of the small private sector and we'll do it as a corporate offering'."

The committee did not vote on the proposal and a zoning application has not yet been filed, nor have the developers yet discussed the proposal with the Office of Planning.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/why-not-hotel-noma-developer-exploring-converting-four-floors-of-apartments/14672

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