Nov 30, 2022 - Real Estate

Short-term rental project YotelPad Miami welcomes tourists

The lobby of YotelPad, which features an electric buggy and a front desk in the shape of a popsicle.

The YotelPad lobby. Photo: Martin Vassolo/Axios

YotelPad — a short-term rental project hailed as the first of its kind in downtown Miami — hasn't been able to test out its flexible model due to unforeseen regulatory hurdles since its opening last summer.

  • But the hotel-condominium's developer tells Axios that owners can finally begin renting out their spaces for daily stays, as promised, as of this month.

Why it matters: YotelPad is helping lay the groundwork for the flexible rental model in the area, which has been gaining popularity with several similar developments in the works.

  • "We pioneered this movement and are happy to be the first completed product to offer this to our buyers," a YotelPad spokesperson tells Axios in an email. "I think this has set a new standard for real estate investment in South Florida."

Catch up fast: A city zoning change, which happened while YotelPad was under construction, blocked owners from offering daily short-term rentals when the project opened in May.

  • Developer David Arditi tells Axios in a statement that the building secured approval from the city this month for short-term rentals for periods of less than 30 days.

How it works: The 31-story building on Northeast Second Street features 222 hotel rooms managed by YotelPad and 231 residential units that owners can enroll in the building's short-term rental program.

  • The hotel rooms are about 240 square feet, while the condos range from 400-700 square feet and come with a kitchen and dining area.
  • A 225-square-foot queen hotel room, which sleeps two, will run you around $389 a night for a weekend trip in February. A 417-square-foot YotelPad studio condo, which comes with a queen bed and a bunk bed, costs about $441 a night to rent over the same period.
  • Arditi tells Axios the idea is to give tourists a "fun urban crash pad" in the heart of downtown with a good bed and shower, but without the frills of a traditional hotel.

Yes, but: There are some frills — like the giant popsicle that serves as the front desk in the hotel lobby and the robot attendants that can bring towels up to your room.

  • There's also a self-service dog spa, pool deck and residents-only Sky Lounge with a Smeg refrigerator that resembles the trunk of a Fiat 500.

The big picture: YotelPad may be the first new project of its kind to open in the area, but other flexible rental projects are coming down the pike, including an Airbnb-branded condo concept expected to be complete in 2024.

What they're saying: Ready-made rental properties like these may be more appealing to investors looking to capitalize on Miami's tourist market than traditional condo buildings, which often come with rental restrictions, real estate experts at Florida International University tell Axios.

  • "The demand is there," FIU assistant professor Mark Thibodeau said, speaking to both the interest for developers to capitalize on Miami's international profile and for investors seeking passive income from a second home.

Buyer beware: Thibodeau said that, generally, buyers interested in new rental concepts should do their due diligence to assess the risks of their investment.

  • "When buyers purchase real estate with expectations about what they can and can't do with it, changes to those expectations can impact their assessment of the value," he said.
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