Bao Vuong and Jason Fudin, co-founders of Placemakr [Credit: Placemakr]

Placemakr lands $65m to fuel fresh growth

US: Placemakr, a flexible-use multifamily and hospitality operator, has announced that it has raised $65 million in new funding and that it has appointed Timothy G. Franzen, the former president of Graduate Hotels, to its C-suite.

The round means that Placemakr has now surpassed $350 million in total capital raised.

Placemakr’s property operations model drew funding participation from venture capital and major real estate investors alike, including Highland Capital Partners, Harbert Growth Partners, Bernstein Management Corporation, Camber Creek, Gaw Capital, and more.

In addition to securing outside investments, Franzen’s appointment to chief development officer marks a key moment of expansion for the organisation. In his new role, Franzen will be leading the company’s effort to expand and grow inventory under management through partnerships with major real estate owners and developers across the United States.

Placemakr will use the new funding to double down on property acquisitions and developer partnerships throughout the country to meet the consumer demand for apartment-style hotels, short-term rentals, and flexible-living accommodations.

The company, which rebranded from WhyHotel and raised $90 million in equity investment one year ago, has managed over $1 billion of real estate assets on its platform, operated more than one million room nights, and serviced over $100 million in bookings since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Placemakr says that this indicates accelerating market demand for a new asset class from consumers and property owners.

Placemakr will continue to expand its partnerships, alongside its geographic footprint, to further solidify the flex-use property as a mainstay asset class in commercial real estate.

Jason Fudin, co-founder and CEO of Placemakr, said: “The trend of flexible-use housing continues to gain steam as cities adjust to our new travel and living patterns created by remote work. In addition to residential multi-family buildings shifting to mixed hospitality and residential use, we’re also seeing an influx of office conversions as these properties in prime locations continue to sit vacant.

“We’re witnessing a reshaping of downtown cities’ structure and function, and we’re proud to lead that conversion alongside our investors and development partners,” he added.

Franzen joins Placemakr, having previously served as president of Graduate Hotels, where he co-authored the business plan and led the growth of the brand’s portfolio over its first six years. Over the course of his 26-year career, Franzen has led the acquisition of 34 hotels and the ground-up development of eight hotels.

Franzen said: “Innovation is the backbone of Placemakr and was the primary driver for my desire to join the organisation. I am eager to bring my experience to Placemakr as we create something new in the industry.

“I’m energised to be a part of something that one day we’ll look back on and pinpoint as the beginning of a fundamental shift in the commercial real estate industry, blending hotel and multifamily uses into the same building and in a truly flexible way,” he added.

Placemakr seeks to leverage its tech-enabled platform to provide multifamily developers and owners with the flexibility to transform existing properties into commingled spaces, effectively combining multifamily and hospitality uses in one building.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of two new property launches by the company – Placemakr Wedgewood Houston and WhyHotel by Placemakr, Columbia.

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