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Apartment Creates WhyHotel Version of Airbnb


A 22-story apartment community in Arlington’s Pentagon City, will start daily rentals for 50 units Jan. 13, hoping to cash in on those visiting for the Dec. 20 inauguration.

The Bartlett, developed by Vornado Realty Trust, is available for one or a few nights on a temporary basis as the owner seeks to determine if 50 vacant apartment homes turned short-term rentals would turn a profit.

Named the WhyHotel, the idea copies current co-live trends whereby housing units are served for work, residence and both. It also can compete with home-sharing sites such as Airbnb, where the units will be listed. Vornado touts WhyHotel as hotel-like living but with a professionally managed apartment staff.

Researcher Greg Leisch for the real estate advisory firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in Washington, says that the apartment industry has been “very slow, way behind the hotel and office industry in participating in the sharing economy.”

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

The rentals, which during the high-demand inauguration week range from $264 to $530 per night.