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Sonder Opens In Moinian's Financial District Apartment Building

A rendering of the pool at Sonder's 2 Washington St. — dubbed Sonder at Battery Park.

Short-term rental startup Sonder opened the first portion of its full-building Financial District location on Monday, amid a period of upheaval for New York City’s hospitality industry. 

The company, which provides short-term, furnished living spaces with the management style of a traditional hotel, opened the doors of 110 units of its 345-unit full-building project at The Moinian Group’s 2 Washington St. last Monday. The remaining 235 units will open sometime in November.

“With this building specifically, we had seen really high occupancy rates in our buildings throughout the pandemic,” Sonder’s New York general manager, Cabell Rosanelli, told Bisnow in an interview Thursday. “We’ve even reached levels of occupancy that we were seeing pre-COVID.” 

Sonder, which was founded in 2012, leases out apartment spaces in buildings in 28 cities throughout the world, allowing stays from a few days to more than a month, according to its website. 

Its business model seems to have proved sustainable amid a chaotic period for New York City’s hospitality industry, as hotels struggle to remain open with very low tourism and travel rates in the city. In June, the company scored $170M in Series E funding led by investors Fidelity, Westcap Group and Inovia Capital, Forbes reported.

Rosanelli said its contactless technology for things like check-in and opening doors has helped business. 

“There aren't really lines or public lobbies or spaces that people are needing to hang out in order to get their rooms or get to live in one of our spaces,” he said. 

In New York City specifically, the company has attracted groups of people that have, in some way or another, been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

At the highest point of the health crisis, the company looked to attract those who would be coming to the city at a time when others were fleeing, such as medical workers, Rosanelli said. They also hosted people who were unable to return home due to travel restrictions.

As those people left in the first months of the recovery, another group of people sought out Sonder’s rooms: New Yorkers whose leases were ending and who were attempting to figure out their next steps, he said. 

“It was people who kind of wanted to understand, what does the next three to six months look like and do I want to be here?” Rosanelli  said. “People were waiting it out to see: Is my job going to become fully remote or am I going to be comfortable in the city based on where the recovery is?” 

In a statement to Bisnow about the opening, the Moinian Group spokesperson Elise Szwajkowski said the developer was “thrilled” with the new “apartment-hotel hybrid.”

“Our team looks forward to seeing them succeed,” she said.

Related Topics: The Moinian Group, Sonder