Alvin Brickman for Metrosetter Wire
Converting properties to short term rentals is becoming an increasingly viable option for property owners. By the end of the year, the historic Charles Street Inn of Beacon Hill, Boston, will be converted to a short-term rentals apartment building by Brent Berc and Will Avanessian, who comprise the Boston Real Estate Collaborative, a company that owns several apartment buildings in the city. The building was acquired from Louise Vendon, the inn’s current owner.
The apartments, which will range from $2,700 to $4,000 for a studio or one bedroom, will be rented as furnished units for leases that can range from one month to one year.
The company owns two properties in the Back Bay and one in the South End that are run on the same business model as the proposed Charles Street location, along with nine non-furnished rental properties in those neighborhoods and Mission Hill.
The building holds historical value for residences, and Berc assures that while the building’s interior will be altered, they will try to preserve as much detail of the exterior as possible: “We’re working within the shell, if you will, and there’s some limitations.”
In case you didn’t know, the building has existed since 1860, originally built to showcase styles of Second Empire Victorian architectural detail as a model home for the development of the Back Bay neighborhood in Boston, and was the first such building constructed for the purpose of being a Model Home in America.
Converting properties to apartment buildings is not very common among property owners, but this may be the beginning of a new trend; typically the conversion is the other way around, from apartment building to hotel. As Temil Marmon–CEO of The Roxbury Company, who converted a 22 unit apartment property into Roxbury residences–observed in our Wire Interview:
Apartment owners are very conservative by nature and most owners would never think to convert their properties into short term leases because they see this as risky. In reality the vacancy rate stays the same, the tenants are better, they live lightly on the units, and you make more net income operating the property as “corporate housing.”
When the entire building is dedicated to short-term rentals, an owner is able to create and have greater control of an environment, which is difficult to maintain when mixing furnished residences or professional tenants with permanent tenants. This current trend of creating whole properties solely for furnished accommodation is worth following and it will be interesting to see how property owners respond to this new opportunity.
For Boston residents, if you didn’t know, this actually won’t be the first time the Charles Street Inn has served as an apartment building. In 1974, it was turned into an apartment building by Ed Logue, one of its occupants and famed Director of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Sally Dean and Louise Venden transformed the building into an inn in 1997.