Short-Term Rental Company Sonder to Open in Three DC Buildings

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Sonder, a short-term rental provider, is opening in three new locations in the District this year. 

The fast-growing unicorn provides a mix of apartment, hotel and vacation rentals, often managing blocks of apartments in residential buildings as short-term rental units.

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Sonder will be offering 280 units in total at Varsity Investment Group’s Georgetown C&O at 1111 30th Street NW; MMg’s Europa at 818 Potomac Avenue SE in Barracks Row; and Urban Investment PartnersThe Quincy at 1823 L Street NW.

The spaces are a mix between traditional apartments and short-term rentals. 

“A top tourist destination, Washington, D.C., is a city that’s rich with renowned historic and cultural attractions, including award-winning museums, culinary gems, world-famous monuments, and of course, the White House,” Ashley Reiser, Sonder’s director of real estate in Washington, D.C., told Commercial Observer. “We’re pleased to expand our footprint with these three new locations, building on our existing relationships in the community, and working with leading real estate partners.”

Guests can take advantage of Sonder’s tech-enabled experience, which includes being able to check-in and out through the Sonder app. 

“All three buildings are located in desirable and walkable areas of the city and boast unique and attractive perks, like a fully equipped, in-unit kitchen or kitchenette and laundry facilities,” Reiser said. “They all provide a comfortable and welcoming space to relax, whether it’s after a long day of sightseeing or a day at work.”

Sonder is no stranger to the area as it already has space in MMg’s Callisto at 816 Potomac Avenue SE, next door to Europa.

The company agreed to go public via a merger with the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Gores Metropoulos II in May with a $2.2 billion valuation. It’s scheduled for a shareholder vote Friday, but with a $1.9 billion valuation after a November 2021 downgrade.

In a presentation to investors last year, CO reported that Sonder co-Founder and CEO Francis Davidson announced he wanted the company to become “the Amazon of hospitality” and planned to reach $4 billion in revenue by 2025.

Recent data from short-term rental tracker AirDNA revealed active rentals in D.C. dropped to 6,210 in the fourth quarter of 2021 from 7,162 in the first quarter.. 

“While the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted the travel and hospitality industries, Sonder is well-positioned to meet the evolving needs of the modern traveler looking for a consistent, comfortable and reliable hospitality experience,” Reiser said. “We’ve seen that a variety of travelers are looking for reliable extended-stay options, for things like temporary relocation, week-long business trips, ‘staycations’ or a digital nomad lifestyle.”

Most recently, despite the omicron variant, the company has seen strong demand across its U.S. properties, with revenue per available room increasing more than 10 percent over New Year’s Eve compared to the same day in 2019, and nearly double 2020’s level, Reiser said.

Keith Loria can be reached at Kloria@commercialobserver.com.