Modus Hotels and Parkway Corporation Begin Development on Pod Philly

Date: May 2018

Location: 31 South 19th Street at the intersection of 19th and Ludlow Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Name: Pod Philly

No. of Keys/Beds: 252/?

Seller: Up until June 2016, 29 S. 19th St. was one of a row of 19th-century homes-turned-commercial structures that survived the transformation of West Market Street and environs into an office canyon.

Today, it’s now a cleared patch of dirt after its current owner demolished it.

According to Office of Property Assessment data, South 19th Street LP purchased the 1,181-square-foot lot and 2,832-square-foot building at 29 S. 19th for $1 million in August 2015.

OPA data show that the parking lot at 31 S. 19th has been owned by South 19th Street LP since April of 2011, when it was purchased for $1.55 million. That lot, an 11,143-square-foot property that also has frontage on Ludlow and Ranstead streets, had housed a parking garage that was used as a Hertz rental car office prior to its acquisition and leveling.

Buyer: Modus Hotels, a developer, owner and operator of a collection of lifestyle hotels in Washington, D.C.; Baltimore; Chicago; and Philadelphia, partnered with Parkway Corporation, a Philadelphia-based family-owned and operated parking, real estate development and airport services company, to develop the hotel.

Parkway acquired, developed and managed commercial parking facilities across the US and Canada since 1930.

The 252-room Pod Philly will be an 11-story micro-hotel spread across 100,000 square feet of space.

Pod Hotels operates four hotels in New York City consisting of 1,400 rooms.

In 2017, Modus developed and now owns and operates Pod DC, a 245-room hotel, in the Chinatown/Penn Quarter neighbourhood of Washington, D.C.

The property is being designed by New York firm Stonehill Taylor, and will offer 252 space-efficient queen and bunk bed rooms averaging 170 square feet, complemented by tiled bathrooms with barn doors, rain shower-heads and eco-friendly bath products.

Rooms will also include built-in storage and high-tech amenities that allow guests to stream their own media, all designed to maximise space while providing travellers everything they need to stay plugged in and engaged.

Similar to Pod’s New York properties, the communal space and food and beverage venues at Pod Philly will be designed to attract visitors and local Philadelphians.

Operated by Greg Root and Nick Kennedy of Defined Hospitality, the experience will include a first-floor restaurant and a coffee bar, serving as a pick-me-up for guests in the lobby’s communal work space. Pod Philly’s rooftop avails a greenhouse-styled bar with panoramic city views and a fully retractable glass roof open during good weather for patrons to mingle over cocktails and light bites.

“Pod Philly will be a trendsetter in Center City—a combination of value, community and sheer fun,” Conrad Cafritz, chairman of Modus Hotels, said in a statement.

THPT Comment: I guess what the Americans call Pod Hotels, we Europeans call Hostels…in Europe rooms can hold 8 or even 12 beds, which groups can book privately, or individual travellers can share with folks they don’t know, of either sex!

The first major commercial transaction in this sector was Patron Capital selling the 14-strong chain by the name of The Generator in 2017, for €450m – 8,700 beds.