NoMa-based WhyHotel is expanding its alternative lodging services to an apartment complex in downtown Columbia, Maryland.
Launched in 2018, the RealLIST Startups 2019 company is launching a pop-up hotel at Juniper, the first apartment complex in Maryland’s Merriweather District. WhyHotel will temporarily manage 70 units at Juniper, a property owned by The Howard Hughes Corporation, beginning in April.
“Partnering with the Howard Hughes Corporation was a natural fit for us,” WhyHotel cofounder and CEO Jason Fudin told Technical.ly. “We’re now able to offer both business and leisure travelers in the area a unique ‘home away from home’ experience, as well as a ‘try before you buy’ experience for potential residents.”
Juniper is the second tenant in the up-and-coming Merriweather District neighborhood located at 6000 Merriweather Drive in Columbia, Maryland. The first building slated to open in the new area is cybersecurity company Tenable’s new headquarters, which will be a 12-story tower. Merriweather District is part of a 391 acre redevelopment project of downtown Columbia, which will encompass two more neighborhoods with retail, public parks, bike trails, office space, residential options and more.
“The work they’ve done to create Merriweather’s first, high-quality apartment building as well as drive the development of its thriving business and leisure community, has been remarkable,” Fudin said.
WhyHotel operates pop-up hotels in new luxury apartment complexes as the building works to fill the vacancies with leased tenants. That initial period can run 18 to 24 months.
WhyHotel’s Juniper pop-up bring the startup’s reach to five operational locations, including a pop-up in Tysons, Virginia, two properties in Arlington, Virginia, one in Seattle and another in Houston. WhyHotel’s original NoMa location in D.C. and its Baltimore pop-up have closed due to partnerships ending. When the Ballston Quarter location in Arlington, Virginia, shutters in April, the startup will still have five locations open. The Juniper location will be the startup’s second Maryland pop-up.
“Launching a new pop-up hotel in Columbia’s Merriweather District enables us to continue expanding our footprint in the Washington, D.C. metro area,” Fudin said.
This expansion comes after WhyHotel booked $20 million in Series B funding back in December, bringing the startup’s total capital raise to over $35 million since its inception. Last May, the company also launched a strategic business unit called Hospitality Living to work out of its San Francisco-based office. The unit will be dedicated to building high-rise urban developments. Throughout this year, WhyHotel will be announcing more national pop-up locations.
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