Rockefeller Center office tower will be converted into Airbnb rentals

April 29, 2019

75 Rockefeller Plaza via Google Street View

Ten floors of an office tower in Rockefeller Center will be converted into short-term rentals, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday. RXR Realty, which has leased the tower at 75 Rockefeller Plaza since 2012, has partnered with Airbnb to transform a portion of the 87-year-old building into roughly 200 units of high-end lodging. In a press release, RXR CEO Scott Rechler described the new venture as a “travel experience that immerses guests in a dynamic, thriving community in the heart of Rockefeller Center that’s vastly different than anything else in the market today.”

While RXR will operate the building, Airbnb will feature the listings on its online platform. According to the companies, they will collaborate on room design, as well as curating local experiences, amenities, and technologies at the site. The rooms will be designed to feel like both “luxurious and comfortable” apartment-style suites, all equipped with fully stocked kitchens.

Amenities planned include access to Club 75 and to a new restaurant on the ground floor. The rooms will be on the upper floors of 75 Rockefeller to provide guests with views of the annual Christmas tree lighting, the Empire State Building, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

The partnership, which still requires approval by lenders, would be the first New York collaboration of many, according to the companies. RXR and Airbnb are currently exploring converting other properties owned by Rechler’s firm, including 47 Hall Street near the Brooklyn Navy Yard in Clinton Hill.

The effort comes as a way for Airbnb to expand its New York City footprint while getting around regulations set by the state. In 2016, the state legislature extended a bill that bans illegal short-term rentals and imposes severe fines for hosts who break it.

And earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law that would require Airbnb to disclose the names and addresses of hosts to the city. The home-share company sued the city and won, with a judge granting Airbnb’s request for a temporary injunction against the law, citing an “extraordinary act of government overreach.”

Because the building is zoned for commercial use, converting the office space into lodging would face fewer legal barriers, according to the WSJ.

The companies said the Rockefeller project will operate with union labor, including the New York Hotel Trades Council and SEIU 32BJ.

[Via WSJ]


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