UK / Finland: Helsinki-based tech-driven hospitality provider Bob W is taking its concept to the UK with a new building currently being constructed in Whitechapel in the East End of London.
The building, which is scheduled to open in 2022, has been rated ‘Excellent by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method [BREEAM], the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It means that the property will be in the UK’s top ten per cent of the most sustainable new, non-domestic buildings.
Bob W seeks to offer a “smarter, more sustainable alternative” to hotels and short-term rentals. Backed by top real estate investors and venture capitalists, the company currently operates in Finland and Estonia, with plans to expand further in Europe.
The East End property will mark the company’s debut in the UK.
Whitechapel has a great location in central London, Bordering the Shoreditch and City of London districts, the new Whitechapel property at 73 Chamber Street will be situated between tourist landmarks such as the Tower of London and London Bridge, corporate HQs, and Brick Lane’s vintage boutiques and bagel shops.
Bob W has secured the building from developer Chamber Street Social Ltd with the help of serviced apartment and aparthotel consultancy business, Saxbury.
Chris Ploutarhou, a director at Chamber Street Social Ltd, said: “We love that Bob W is a young, urban brand innovating in hospitality. We clearly share the same values in sustainability, and they’re very flexible, which has made them easy to coordinate with.”
With its exterior designed by award-winning architectural firm Tasou Associates, 73 Chamber Street will feature energy-saving technology, including air-source heat pumps and low-carbon technology, and it will provide hot water, energy-efficiency condensers, heating and cooling without using fossil fuel or gas, and photovoltaic [PV] panels to help supply electricity.
Taavi Pettai, senior director of real estate at Bob W, said: “The buildings where we operate have the biggest effect on our sustainability footprint, so it’s an absolute joy to partner with a developer who shares our environmental improvement targets.”
As the sole tenant spanning seven floors, the property is being built for Bob W and the needs of the short-term rental category.
In April, Bob W secured a further ten million euros in seed funding, on top of a previous four million euro round. The round was led by byFounders VC and private equity outfit Finnish Industry Investment [Tesi], with participation from Kaamos, Superangel, United Angels and NREP.
The company’s CEO and co-founder, Niko Karstikko, recently appeared on ShortTermRentalz’ RockSTRz webinar series, featuring in a session entitled ‘Tech this out: Tapping into the traveller psyche’. Watch the webinar recording at this link.