- Airbnb, the short-term rental startup that’s available in more than 65,000 cities, plans to build a 324-unit apartment building in Kissimmee, Florida, near Walt Disney World Resorts. Miami-based developer Newgard Development Group will build the complex, which will feature keyless entry and shared common spaces, CNN reported.
- Airbnb said the building, which will be branded as “Niido Powered by Airbnb,” is the first of a series of home-sharing developments across the Southeastern United States, according to a press release. Airbnb will let tenants rent out their units for up to 180 nights every year.
- Tenants will have access to a mobile app integrated with Airbnb to help manage guest stays remotely. That includes overseeing check-ins and arranging for cleaning and linen services. Those who opt to rent out their apartments on Airbnb will share revenues with their landlord and keep 75%, Newgard CEO Harvey Hernandez told CNN.
Niido, which is a partnership between Airbnb and Newgard Development, marks Airbnb’s entry into the development of apartments that are intended to be shared by tenants for up to half of any year. As such, it reflects the potential for industry disruption driven by mobile solutions to extend beyond smartphones, with Airbnb's influence being felt across construction, the rental market and local regulations during a year when the brand has already extended into luxury rentals. The development of an app specifically for tenants to manage rentals also points to Airbnb's continued mobile innovation.
Airbnb has faced criticism in many cities who claim the service turns otherwise rentable apartments into unofficial hotels while eliminating affordable housing. The hotel industry has also criticized the company for undercutting prices or following local regulations.
To address those concerns with the Florida development, tenants will be required to sign annual leases at a "regular market rate," Newgard told CNN. Airbnb last year started a "Friendly Building Program" to help landlords set the terms for tenants who want to rent out their places on Airbnb. That lets landlords get some of the revenue from short-term rentals.
Kissimmee is the third most active home sharing city in Florida, after Miami Beach and Miami, Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit told the Orlando Sentinel. Whether the development is positive for Airbnb, tenants, guests, landlords, the hotel industry and local tax authorities remains to be seen. But Airbnb isn’t stopping in Florida. Niido plans to develop additional apartment complexes in Nashville, TN; Charleston, SC; and cities in Texas.