It is a relatively new concept in the housing market.
And the chief executive of the California-based investment group that specializes in recycling underutilized hotels and motels into studio resorts calls the concept an “overhaul.”
The group held an open house Thursday for a new studio complex in a former Ramada Inn on I-35 in New Braunfels.
“This project has been a long one for us,” said Dan Norville, Founder and Managing Director of Vivo Investment Group. “It was one of our first Vivo Living conversion projects to take a hotel or motel you see here and reimagine it, reimagine it. It started as a passion project for Vivo partners to make this in a big way – to help solve the housing crisis in the U.S. It’s a step towards that larger goal.
Thursday’s open house included tours of the complex, its amenities and a show apartment. Vivo acquired the property in February 2021.
The resort comprises 140 units, with available floor plans of 249 square feet and 300 to 306 square feet and a one-bedroom loft plan of 687 square feet.
Amenities in the apartment include microwave, refrigerator, sink, air conditioning, furnished units, cook top and blinds.
Rental rates for studio apartments with one bathroom start at around $845 per month.
“The demographics – what we’ve seen – the statistics, the unaffordability that’s happening in the market, and I think we’ve found a really good way to create a win-win situation,” Norville said. “We are going in, recycling this building that would otherwise continue to be an underperforming hotel – a hotel that could have created more crime and nuisance in the city that has now been awarded millions of dollars and breathed new life into to make it something really special.
Vivo’s concept also takes advantage of other hotel spaces, turning them into storage rooms, fitness centers, game rooms, dog parks, clubs and swimming pools to promote a community-like atmosphere.
“At Vivo, it’s about the living community,” Norville said. “We really invested a lot of time and effort in these spaces to organize them. We install the playrooms – the areas where residents can be social and interact, not just with the residents themselves – our biggest goal is for our residents to make friends – but also for our staff to bond with each other. friendship with residents. ”
Norville added that the complex would host community events for residents, including social events, job training classes and recovery workshops.
Community amenities also include high-speed internet access available, onsite housekeeping, onsite management, laundry care center, onsite parking, and wireless internet.
According to Norville, the property has already seen about 60% of its units rented. The company expects to fully lease the property in three to four months.
Vivo Partner and Chief Investment Officer Brett Tanimoto said it was exciting to see a project come to fruition.
“When you compare it to what it was before being where we are today, it’s night and day,” Tanimoto said. “Before, it was (a building) with over 30 years of deferred maintenance and many repairs to be done. We went in and we changed all the broken units (heating and air conditioning), we did all the new coatings flooring, all new paint…it looks like a completely different property, and we’ve added kitchens to every unit.
Vivo Living was founded at the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
There was already a shortage of affordable housing across the country, but the loss of jobs and income due to pandemic-enforced closures has left more people unable to pay their rent. At the same time, business and vacation travel has come to a halt, leaving many hotels in financial turmoil and causing many hotel owners to consider exiting the business.
That’s when the founders of Vivo Living decided that these hotels could be redesigned and transformed into affordable, much-needed rental accommodations.
“We’ve been doing this for two years,” he said. “We launched the business in June 2020, and since then we have purchased 23 hotels, over 3,500 units across the United States. 20% to 25% to what is on the market.
Vivo is also working on converting the former Quality Inn on I-35, which it acquired in August 2021, into a 75-unit studio complex. The company expects this project to be completed in four to six months.
Vivo’s portfolio includes 20 similar projects in various stages of development across the country.