The apartment complex, the MidCity iLofts, is billed on its website as a "luxury complex" with perks such as bocce ball courts, stainless steel appliances and built-in Dolby 8.1 surround sound speakers, all priced to attract young professionals.It's zoned mixed use so our crappy ordinance allows for unlimited short term rentals there. What's fun about that is some entities do get long-term leases. Notice the developer's tricky way of describing a deal to rent his building to this hotel operator.
But now the apartment complex has become something different: It's basically a hotel.
City records indicate MidCity iLofts, owned by Bruno Inc., has leased apartments to Sonder Inc., a San Francisco-based company operating more than 100 short term rental properties around New Orleans through sites like Airbnb.com and HomeAway.com. Its website notes it also operates in nine other cities.See, it's one big "long term" tenant. Sonder is an out of town tourism-speculator using STR platforms to leverage distressed urban housing markets to its advantage. To do this they need to partner with dishonest property developers like Bruno. They never seem to be in short supply. Of course they also need local elected persons to enable the dishonest developers by treating them as legitimate parties whose interests need to be "balanced" against the housing stressed people of the city they're taking advantage of.
Joshua Bruno of Bruno Inc. described his company's lease with Sonder as "multi-year," but did not offer specifics, nor did he directly address whether his company has deals with Sonder for other properties.
"It's great for the city, and it works for the city," said Bruno, who characterized the renters taking advantage of Sonder-managed properties at MidCity iLofts as corporate, "longer term rentals" with contracts for "one year, two years."
Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, as councilwoman, originally proposed changing the commercial short-term rental designations in mixed-use zoning districts. Mason Harrison, a spokesman for her transition team, said she "is currently working to strike the right balance on this issue."I'm sure they'll work out a nice both-sidesy deal that preserves all the investors' profits. This is gonna be a fun couple of years.