Short-term rental platform Sonder doubles footprint in Chicago

The San Francisco-based startup is one of multiple firms renting out furnished apartments as a higher-end alternative to Airbnb

Essex on the Park and Sonder CEO Francis Davidson (Credit: Rent Essex and LinkedIn)
Essex on the Park and Sonder CEO Francis Davidson (Credit: Rent Essex and LinkedIn)

Fresh off a $200 million funding round this week, short-term rental company Sonder is more than doubling its inventory of Chicago hotel-apartments.

The San Francisco-based startup, which leases apartments and then rents them out for vacation stays, will take 92 units in Oxford Capital Group’s new Essex on the Park high-rise, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. It will also add another 48 units at 330 South Wells Street, according to the report.

The 130 combined units adds to what Sonder already leases at the Plymouth Building at 419 South Dearborn Street, the Jewelers Building at 19 South Wabash Avenue and the Waterman Building at 127 South State Street.

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The expansion comes on the heels of the company’s Thursday announcement that it had reached unicorn status with a $210 million funding round, pushing its valuation to $1 billion.

The company’s furnished units are meant to provide a higher-end alternative to Airbnb, which is held in check by tight regulations in Chicago.

It also faces direct competition from Lyric, Stay Alfred, Domio and Blueground, which follow a similar model and have all recently expanded in Chicago. [Chicago Tribune] — Alex Nitkin