COLUMBIA, MD—WhyHotel, an alternative lodging service that operates pop-up hotels in newly built, luxury apartment buildings, today revealed plans to launch a new pop-up hotel within Juniper, the first apartment building located here in the Merriweather District in downtown Columbia.
“Becoming part of the Merriweather District is a natural extension of our Washington, DC metro footprint—where the company is headquartered. We see the area as a growing, walkable neighborhood with a mix of high-quality uses and customers eager for a new product like WhyHotel,” said Jason Fudin, CEO and co-founder, WhyHotel. “This is our first pop-up outside of a core, high-rise downtown. Given that, it is one of our smaller pop-ups with 70 units available to guests.”
Owned by The Howard Hughes Corporation, Juniper is located at 6000 Merriweather Dr. and will include 70 WhyHotel units at its onset as it begins welcoming guests in April.
“The area surrounding Merriweather Post Pavilion has a great mix of business and leisure,” said Fudin. “Our pop-up concept is a perfect fit for the Merriweather District to provide business travelers a ‘like-home’ hotel stay as well as allow potential permanent residents an opportunity to ‘try before they buy’ and experience what the new area has to offer first hand.”
WhyHotel’s roots are based in the area with its headquarters in Washington, DC, and three of its current pop-up hotels being in Virginia. The company, founded in 2017, secured a $20-million-plus Series B financing round in December of 2019, fueling its continued national expansion. In addition to the development of its pop-up product model, WhyHotel has also created a business unit, known as Hospitality Living, dedicated to building permanently flexible-use assets from the ground up.
“WhyHotel embodies the spirit of innovation and creativity that drives our development in the Merriweather District. Its unique business model will benefit both residents and travelers as downtown Columbia delivers on its promise, becoming the third city in the Baltimore/Washington corridor,” said Greg Fitchitt, president, Columbia, The Howard Hughes Corporation. “WhyHotel complements the growing business, leisure and residential populations in the vibrant downtown Columbia community.”
Fudin added, “Howard Hughes has done a fantastic job creating a high-quality building and an amazing urban environment. We will be working with them to highlight local spots and have an offering for office tenants in the area.”
Simultaneously, WhyHotel is gearing up for the official opening of its Houston location in March. Once live, the Columbia, MD pop-up will bring WhyHotel to a total of five operational locations. The company plans to announce a number of additional pop-ups throughout 2020 across the US.
“This pop-up allows us to take all of the lessons learned in downtown locations, and bring them to bear in a great walkable neighborhood,” he said. “We are excited to continue to grow our customer base and have a product that helps people find a home away from home. Next up for us is Houston, TX, with Camden. That project opens in March 2020.”