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Airbnb, Niido to open 14 home-sharing complexes across US by 2020

Washington

AIRBNB is set to debut another almost-hotel and, according to its development partner, it has many more to come.

An apartment complex in Nashville, Tennessee, will lease apartments to a mix of long-term renters and short-term visitors as the Silicon Valley home-rental behemoth's second announced Airbnb-branded building.

The new project is a takeover of an existing 328-unit building, the Olmsted, in the downtown SoBro neighbourhood, a popular tourist destination for music lovers and bachelor parties. Airbnb's partner Niido purchased the building last week.

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Under Niido's new ownership, current Olmsted residents will be encouraged to sublet their units to Airbnb travellers for a maximum of 180 days per year.

Airbnb and Niido will take 25 per cent of the income the residents generate from home-sharing.

The two companies will jointly rent a portion of the remaining vacant units through Airbnb's platform for short-term stays.

The concept, called Niido Powered by Airbnb, is part of a larger push by Airbnb to team up with real estate developers and facility managers, a group that has frequently argued that the home-sharing company enables renters to sublet their apartments illegally.

In December, Brookfield Property Partners agreed to invest as much as US$200 million into Niido's efforts to turn residential apartment buildings into Airbnb-branded complexes.

By the end of 2019, Airbnb and Niido will open as many as 14 Airbnb-branded complexes nationwide, said Cindy Diffenderfer, co-founder and chief marketing officer for Niido Powered by Airbnb.

"We have a pretty aggressive growth strategy," she added.

A representative for Niido said the plans could change. Airbnb declined to comment.

As part of a push to broaden its appeal to more upscale clientele, Airbnb has added more hotels and hotel-like listings under the label Airbnb Plus.

Those sites get regular visits from an inspector to confirm that towels are fresh, sheets are matching and that appliances commonly found in hotels, including hair dryers and irons, are stocked.

Working in partnership with real estate developers like Niido will help Airbnb offer a more hotel-like experience while operating out of homes and apartments.

Not all residents are thrilled about their new neighbours, however. Earlier this year, Niido and Aibnb revealed a conversion of a 324-unit complex in Kissimmee, Florida, that prompted some residents to claim they "didn't agree to live in a hotel".

In Nashville, there was similar surprise late last week after Niido Powered by Airbnb informed Olmsted residents that their building would become a home-sharing complex.

"We are excited to announce the recent acquisition of your beautiful community," said a letter sent to residents on behalf of Ms Diffenderfer and her partners at Niido.

Residents already living in the building say they had no idea that Niido was taking over their leases or that their building would be turned into a permanent Airbnb complex.

A representative for Niido said the real estate company is aware of complaints and it is focused on "building robust and satisfied communities in Nashville and Kissimmee". WP