Jamestown Developing First Project With New Short-Term Rental Concept, Eyes Global Expansion – Bisnow

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The newest addition to the development around Jamestown’s iconic Ponce City Market building will include more than 400 furnished apartments that can be rented out for anywhere between a day and a year.

Jamestown’s iconic Ponce City Market in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood

The Atlanta-based developer, backed by German investors, is developing an apartment tower called Scout Living, which will offer 405 fully furnished units that can be rented for flexible lengths in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta, Bisnow can first report.

Jamestown plans to use the Scout Living model as a launching pad for the concept’s growth across its global portfolio, Jamestown President Michael Phillips said. 

“It’s effectively a … long-term residential solution with short-term flexibility and hospitality functions. It’s designed as an in-between product,” Phillips said. “It’s an answer to the mobility of the workforce today.”

Scout Living is the third piece of the second phase of development surrounding Ponce City Market, following the Signal House apartment building and 619 Ponce, an 85K SF mass timber office building at the corner of Ponce de Leon Avenue and Glen Iris Drive. The building, now under construction, will be next door to 619 Ponce.

Jamestown completed the transformation of a former multistory Sears, Roebuck & Co. warehouse into Ponce City Market in 2015, creating a mixed-use destination that includes offices, a food hall and retail. Jamestown broke ground on the second phase last year.

Phillips said Jamestown is targeting a growing pool of renters seeking flexibility, typically younger people who don’t want to be tied to traditional annual apartment leases. Scout Living’s units will feature full kitchens, washers and dryers, virtual check-in, keyless locks and access to amenities, including a rooftop pool, wellness studios, residential living rooms, a chef’s kitchen and bookable meeting spaces.

The first Scout Living building is a “proof of concept” for Jamestown, Phillips said, and depending on its success, the firm expects to develop other Scout Living apartments in various cities around the globe with attributes similar to Atlanta, a corporate hub that attracts young, tech-savvy renters.

Phillips said Jamestown could bring Scout Living to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami in the U.S., as well as Rotterdam and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, London, Milan, Madrid and Lisbon, Portugal.

“All of these markets have a really highly digitally proficient young workforce that’s engaged and mobile,” he said, with renters “much more motivated for a residential-like experience that is woven into a neighborhood fabric.”

To that end, Phillips said Jamestown will develop new buildings to maximize the units’ efficiency. Scout Living’s units will average 390 SF, tiny compared to the average Atlanta apartment, which is 910 SF, according to Haddow & Co.

The short-term rental market has taken its lumps over the past two years, as increased competition and tightening traveler budgets have eaten into owners’ bottom lines.

There were fewer than 1.1 million short-term rental units in the U.S. in 2021, when revenue per available room grew 18.6% and occupancy hit 61.3%, according to data from short-term rental industry analysis firm AirDNA.

Occupancy fell to 54.8% last year as the unit count soared past 1.5 million, according to AirDNA’s 2024 market report. RevPAR fell nearly 5% from the year before.

An additional 200,000 units are expected to open this year, but with increasing demand, occupancy is expected to stabilize and RevPAR is projected to grow 2% in 2024, according to AirDNA.

But Phillips said Jamestown is banking more on long-term preferences with young professionals who aren’t bound by brand loyalty or traditional hotel stays that older cohorts tend to gravitate to.

“If I have a company meeting and I let everybody make their own booking, a full third of my people will book Airbnbs,” he said. “It just feels more local and more connected to the city they’re in.”

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