The Daily Dirt: Airbnb moves forward with IPO plans

An analysis of New York's top real estate news

TRD New York /
Aug.August 11, 2020 07:00 PM

After layoffs and a drop in value, Airbnb is moving forward with its plans to go public.

The home-sharing giant expects to file IPO paperwork this month, which would allow the company to go public by the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The move comes after Airbnb laid off nearly 2,000 employees — 25 percent of its staff — and saw its valuation fall from $31 billion to $18 billion. Like the traditional hospitality industry, Airbnb was hurt by the dramatic drop in travel due to the coronavirus crisis.

Still, the company says guests booked more than 1 million nights’ worth of future stays on July 8, the highest level of bookings seen since March 3. And Airbnb isn’t alone in deciding to plunge into the public markets during the pandemic. Tech companies, including Vroom, ZoomInfo, Lemonade and Rocket Mortgage, have recently gone public. The move has proven rewarding for many: Lemonade, a SoftBank-backed insurance seller, saw its valuation soar to $3.8 billion when it went public last month.

In other Airbnb news, the owners of the Imperial Court Hotel settled a lawsuit brought by tenants over illegal short-term rentals in the building’s rent-stabilized, single-room occupancy rooms.

The tenants, who were supported by the mayor’s office of Special Enforcement, claimed the owners violated a state law that bars renting units for less than 30 days, Sylvia Varnham O’Regan reports. The lawsuit was part of the city’s crackdown on Airbnb and other short-term rental companies.

Speaking of short-term rental companies, this one is in hot water over alleged unpaid rent.

Nathan Berman’s MetroLoft Management is suing Sonder, alleging that the hospitality startup owes $3.9 million in back rent from July, along with interest and fees, and an additional $100 million to cover the remainder of its lease at 20 Broad Street, Georgia Kromrei reports.

But Sonder alleges a Legionella outbreak drove it out of the Broad Street property back in May.

“The health and safety of our guests is our number one priority, and we have not found the owner’s approach to remediation and long-term water management issues at the building acceptable,” a spokesperson for Sonder said.

MetroLoft said it was willing to work with Sonder, but the company has instead “chosen the opportunistic route and decided to abandon its lease and use other circumstances as a pretext for vacating the property entirely.”

What we’re thinking about: Will Sen. Kamala Harris, who was just tapped to be presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, sell her home in Los Angeles? Send predictions to [email protected].

CLOSING TIME

Residential: The priciest residential closing recorded Tuesday was for a condo at 21 East 12th Street in Greenwich Village, at $4 million.

Commercial: The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for multifamily building at 185 Claremont in Morningside Heights, at $15.8 million.

BREAKING GROUND

The largest new building filing of the day was for a 27,737-square-foot residential building at 20-18 Steinway Street in Astoria. Fuhao Yang of 2008 Steinway LLC filed the permit application.

NEW TO THE MARKET

The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo at 181 East 65th Street in Lenox Hill, at $30 million. Nest Seekers International has the listing.
— Research by Orion Jones

Correction: Friday’s top sales and projects were accidentally reprinted in Monday’s newsletter. Here’s Monday’s data:

The priciest closing recorded Monday was for a condo at 155 East 79th Street on the Upper West Side, at $12.4 million. The most expensive commercial closing of the day was for a warehouse at 533 Second Avenue in Sunset Park, at $10 million. The largest new building filing of the day was for a 14,400-square-foot residential building at 2801 Tilden Avenue in Flatbush. Cesare Perefetto of Tilden Avenue Realty Associates LLC filed the application. The priciest residential listing to hit the market was for a condo at 432 Park Avenue in Midtown, at $90 million. Douglas Elliman has the listing.

A thing we’ve learned…

The “Triumph of Civic Virtue” statue, which depicts a nude man “triumphantly standing over twin sirens of vice and corruption” was moved to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn in 2012, the New York Daily News reported at the time. The statue was first unveiled at City Hall in 1922 and then sat (rotted) outside of Queens Borough Hall for 70 years. Apparently depicting a man as virtue while trampling two women was controversial even in the 1920s. According to the New York Times, the good-government statue didn’t sit well with some suffragettes, who had just gained the right to vote. After years of controversy, city officials determined that a cemetery was the best place for the statue to gracefully deteriorate. Thank you to Google, which supplied this statue when I searched “mermaids in NYC.”

Elsewhere in New York

— When the MTA rags on you, you are probably doing something wrong. The agency criticized a wedding party that blocked Fifth Avenue over the weekend by walking arm-in-arm during a photoshoot and definitely violating social distancing rules, Gothamist reports. “ARE YOU A BUS?” the MTA tweeted along with the video of the traffic-stopping photo op.

— Officials captured an emu in Paterson on Tuesday after receiving multiple reports of a giant bird running through the streets, NorthJersey.com reports. It is unclear where the bird came from.

— Attorney General Letitia James has accused one of the nation’s largest egg producers of taking in $4 million in illegal revenue by gouging New Yorkers, the New York Times reports. James’ lawsuit alleges that Hillandale Farms quadrupled the price of eggs in March and April.


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