ULI Washington News

From Alexa to WhyHotel: The New Ways of Living in the Multifamily Market Event Recap

On November 29th, 2018, the ULI Young Leaders Group Programs Committee hosted “From Alexa to WhyHotel: The New Ways of Living in the Multifamily Market.” The goal of the event was to showcase the different ways in which developers, apartment owners, and real estate professionals are staying relevant in a competitive apartment landscape.

The event was hosted at 100K (100 K ST NE), an Equity Residential development in NoMa. The event kicked off at the elegant ground floor amenity space of 100K, where guests networked and led self-guided tours of first-floor amenity spaces including the state-of-the-art gym and outdoor courtyard featuring a centerpiece fire pit. While networking, participants also had the opportunity to visit with representatives from Starry, a company working to provide high-speed internet to residents for one flat rate without the hassle of complicated plans and bad customer service.

Following remarks and speaker introductions by Programs Committee member and Equity Residential Senior Investment Analyst, Valerie Micek, the event transitioned into tour groups featuring speakers from WhyHotel, Equity Residential, and IOTAS:

  • Jason Fudin, CEO & Co-Founder – WhyHotel
  • Ben Stoll, Vice President of Development – Equity Residential
  • Chad Summers, Vice President of Revenue – IOTAS

WhyHotel is a pop-up hotel company that utilizes vacant apartments in new developments while those properties reach a stabilized lease-up, which usually occurs over the course of 10-18 months. The company works with a building’s owner, in this case being Equity Residential, to determine how many units they will take, how they will phase out of the property, and what the timeline of the phase out process looks like. The units WhyHotel once occupied are then turned back over to the owner/operator to lease to tenants. Jason of WhyHotel and Ben of Equity Residential gave a brief presentation and took questions in the concierge and check-in unit for WhyHotel.

Down the hall in a fully furnished two-bedroom WhyHotel unit, Chad Summers of IOTAS (Internet of Things as a Service) presented their smart home platform. While 100K units are not currently equipped with the IOTAS technology, Chad and the wonderful maintenance staff at 100K outfitted one unit to showcase the technology. The IOTAS app streamlines the smart home process by providing residents an experience that is voice controlled, on one single app, and provides automated intelligence. This in turn benefits apartment owners and operators by attracting new tenants at premium rents, as well as lowering management and utility costs.

After all groups had toured, the lobby space was open for networking until the event concluded. Overall, the evening was a great success, offering attendees the opportunity to learn about innovative technologies and experience new disrupters in the multi-family market. The ULI Young Leaders Group Programs Committee graciously thanks Equity Residential, WhyHotel, IOTAS, and Starry for participating in this exciting event.

By Annie Farley

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