Sonder is opening 168 apartments in Downtown Detroit [Credit: Sonder]

Sonder to open 168 rental apartments in Detroit

US: San Francisco-based hospitality startup Sonder is set to open 168 short-term rental apartments in two buildings in downtown Detroit from next month.

Of the one- and two-bedroom units which will be master leased from the building owners, 45 are expected to be listed for rent in the former Lawyers Building at 139 Cadillac Square, while the remaining 123 should open in the former Gabriel Richard Building at 305 Michigan Avenue in the winter.

General manager Ellen Schulz told Crain’s Detroit Business: “Sonder brings consistency and quality of a hotel stay with a space that feels like an apartment.”

Sonder now operates in 22 cities worldwide and is reported to be on track to reach $400 million in revenue this year. In July, it also raised $225 million in a fourth round of private equity funding.

Its entry into the Detroit market is timely as there have been debates over the legitimacy of short-term rentals in the city.

Schulz said: “We saw an opportunity to offer an alternative, stay somewhere that feels little more like home and a bit more of a consistent approach.”

Historic Detroit reported that the Lawyers Building was the brainchild of John Barlum, who was also behind the development of the Cadillac Tower and New Cadillac Square Apartments as they are now known. It was designed by the Bonnah & Chaffee architecture firm.

Meanwhile, The Gabriel Richard Building sold for $3.2 million to Barbat Holdings’ founder and chairman, Joe Barbat, in February 2015. At the time, he said he was planning to convert the space into apartments at a cost of $6.5 million.

For more information, visit the Sonder website here.

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