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Airbnb Partners With RXR Realty To Carve Hotel Rooms Out Of Midtown Manhattan Office Building

RXR Realty's 75 Rockefeller Plaza in midtown Manhattan. The company is starting to offer testing to employees.

While hotels are attempting to enter the home-sharing market, the home-sharing leader is responding in kind.

Airbnb announced on Wednesday its new partnership with RXR Realty to "create a new category of urban lodging" across New York and other major urban markets.

The first project in the partnership will be RXR's 75 Rockefeller Plaza, where 10 floors of the office building will be turned into suites meant to toe the line between apartments and hotel rooms in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. RXR will own, develop and operate the units, while Airbnb will consult on their design and list them exclusively on its platform.

RXR and Airbnb will also work together to build a digital concierge program to support the suites, which will include "fully stocked" kitchens and come with access to building amenities like a private social club and business center on the top floor. The joint venture is already exploring further locations for the program, including at 47 Hall St., RXR's development across the street from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in the Clinton Hill neighborhood.

The venture is another inroad Airbnb is making into the hotel industry it has spent years disrupting. The startup has been listing hotel rooms along with private residences for well over a year now, and in March acquired last-minute hotel booking app HotelTonight to further entrench itself.

The diversification has been concurrent with a series of legal and political battles that have already resulted in contentious legislation battles in New York and other markets restricting the spread of short-term rentals over concerns about its impact on housing affordability.

Airbnb may also be sensing pressure from hotel industry stalwarts like Marriott International, which announced plans to take its own home-sharing program, called Homes & Villas by Marriott International, nationwide this week. Marriott had been piloting the service as Tribute Portfolio Homes in major European cities since last year.

CORRECTION, MAY 2, 7:15 P.M. ET: A previous version of this article used the name of Marriott's European pilot program in place of Homes & Villas' permanent name. This article has been updated.