Thursday, August 08, 2019

They found a way to finesse it

City Council passed the STR restrictions with the 25% commercial cap in place.  One of the things we were worried about yesterday was the possibility of Jason Williams offering an amendment to strip that out.  Jason is interested in helping Sonder convert a Canal Street building owned by Mike Motwani into a virtual hotel with, like an Apple store or a Pottery Barn or something on the first floor.  But he probably didn't want his name explicitly associated with that with so many people paying such close attention.  So, instead, they figured out a way to do an end run.
However, the cap will not apply to existing short-term rentals, which will be able to operate as non-conforming uses.

The fact that the cap will only apply to new operations has raised concerns among many advocates. That will mean the roughly 1,150 commercial units now in operation across the city would be unaffected by the change.

And opponents of short-term rentals warned that the fact the new rules won't go into effect for months could lead to a rush of applications to convert buildings before they go into effect.
The new law goes into effect December 1.  So that means commercial operators now have three months to run down and secure as many irrevocable STR permits as they can buy before that happens. At the very least it is plenty time for Sonder to get what they want out of Canal Street.  But we're probably in for a much bigger "gold rush" than that. 

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