Airbnb and Me
The Rich Are Different
Uh oh—we knew Airbnb was kinda sketchy, legally, but we also just learned that its landlords might face a bunch of racial discrimination from its renters.
Unlike with other online marketplaces, like eBay or Amazon, Airbnb’s design incorporates large profile pictures of its sellers. That design feature led Harvard Business School Professors Benjamin Edelman and Michael Luca to conduct a study called “Digital Discrimination: The Case of Airbnb.com,” wherein they evaluated how the race, gender, age and appearance of a landlord affected the prices of comparable listings in New York City.
Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!
It’s always a great week to be a rich tech person, but the last 10 days in particular have especially been swell for rich tech people who are also into faux-simplistic real estate.
The tricked-out trailer rolls on with a story on SFGate.com highlighting the Hill House, a modernist abode being featured on an upcoming San Francisco house tour. The Hill House clocks in at a meager 2,200 square feet, you see, which means it’s the perfect structure to prove how “well-heeled techies are looking for status in the simplicity of a home rather than its size,” SFGate.com says.
This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary [at] garysguide.com.
Holy kryptonite, Batman! Superman vs. Batman, the movie, is really happening. Snyder and Cavill are in, but the big question is, who’ll play the Dark Knight? Also, my money is on a Justice League film by 2017.
Don’t miss this week: Wednesday is Decoded Fashion’s Anniversary Startup Showcase with Firstmark’s Lawrence Lenihan (and I’m giving away five free passes). Thursday is the New York Times‘ Open Source Science Fair. Also on Thursday is the Art Directors Club Presents: Startup, with folks from Charity:Water, Piccolo, BKRY, Flixmaster and Barnum (and I’m giving awaythree free passes). Friday is BUZZtheBar Happy Hour (mention GarysGuide and get in free).
New York City is inching ever closer to rival Silicon Valley as the epicenter of the tech world—and commercial real estate has to match its pace. With more tech start-ups moving to New York, and requiring high-speed Internet to do their jobs—or at least watch cat videos with minimal buffering—the presence of a broadband Internet connection can transform a pedestrian property into a hot commodity.
That’s why fellow Observer Media property The Commercial Observer has launched Wired City, a savvy new channel that explores the intersection of infrastructure, real estate, and broadband Internet. If you enjoy Betabeat’s coverage of New York’s quest for world domination, we think Wired City will be right up your alley.
Sounds like the rumors might be true: Crain’s reports that Facebook is expanding its New York presence to 770 Broadway, home to Aol/Huffington Post, Billboard Magazine and J. Crew.
While Facebook hasn’t confirmed, Crain’s says the social networking site is taking 160,000 square feet across two floors in the “Midtown South” (but really, the Village?) building.
Real Estate Envy
“This building would be great, but it just has too much…ceiling,” is a thing that some startup office seekers are apparently uttering in the trendier neighborhoods of San Francisco. The Wall Street Journal reports that landlords are straight up wrecking buildings to make them look “edgier,” “funky” and “fun.”
That means lots of exposed ceiling pipes, open floor plans and a kitchen stocked with organic juices and plastered with signs about the upcoming company-wide 5k. Also: a room for people to cry in, when your investors just don’t get it.
It's Zuck's World We're Just Living In It
With all the froth and flutter about New York City startups, it’s easy to forget they’re not special creatures, free from the tyrannical pressures of the real estate market. Today comes a reminder courtesy of The New York Times, which reports that many tech companies companies, rather than waste precious rocket fuel (i.e., capital), are electing to move north–to Midtown.
Google New York
Facebook is heightening its presence in New York and is looking to expand from its Madison Avenue digs into a bigger office better equipped for its influx of engineers. According to Crain’s New York, sources say the execs at Facebook are considering an office space in the former New York Times building at 229 W. 43rd street.
Tech companies are, once again, scouting for space. The New York Post reports that Facebook, IBM, and Amazon are all on the prowl in Flatiron, Chelsea and Meatpacking. Perhaps Facebook has decided that, access to advertisers notwithstanding, Midtown just isn’t hip enough?
Trinity Real Estate, a division of Trinity Church located near the World Trade Center site, has had a pretty good run. In the past 14 months, Trinity saw occupancy rise from 84 percent to 92 percent and watched rents ratchet up 26 percent. According to Crain’s, a big part of that growth is thanks to tech companies, or at least tech-driven startups like e-commerce site One Kings Lane, which is co-founded by Mark Pincus’s wife Alison Pincus, and moved into 205 Hudson St. in May.
Trinity owns 18 former industrial buildings in the Hudson Square area and startup types, it seems, dig the “loftlike spaces, with large windows and big floor plates.” But it’s not just Trinity: