Pandemic-induced hybrid employment scenarios have already attracted the attention of the short-term rental market as more people gain the ability to blend work and travel. Airbnb added more features for customers working remotely. Startups like Mint House and Sonder are beginning to cater to employees who moved away from the cities where their companies are headquartered but still need to travel back there regularly. Related Companies, a privately-owned real estate firm based in NYC, is also introducing a new lodging brand tailored for C-suite professionals who need an annual lease. This begs the question, is this the beginning of a new type of post-pandemic development? Or is this just a typical apartment building with a new branding twist?
While a number of developers, hotels, and startups have concentrated on providing services for mobile freelancers and remote employees, Related is strategically focusing all of its efforts on delivering an upscale experience for members of top management. The rental apartment brand, dubbed “The Set,” includes hotel amenities like a concierge service, fully furnished units (complete with towels and sheets), and exclusive events for residents like wine tastings and community programs. The first complex will open in the Hudson Yards neighborhood of Manhattan. After Hudson Yards is up and running, Related intends to expand to other major cities in the U.S.
“The Set” appears to be a secondary residential brand catered to a very specific clientele. Its very existence underscores the fact that enough workers moved far enough away from their offices during the pandemic that the need for part-time living space and that the switch to hybrid schedules is prompting a shift in more than just the office market.