Properties blend extended-stay hotels, serviced apartments
Hotel industry innovator Jack DeBoer has launched Wichita, Kan.-based WaterWalk, which combines an extended-stay hotel concept and serviced apartments. “We have reverse-engineered both the extended-stay hotel and apartment industries, taking the best from each,” says DeBoer, 83, founder of Residence Inn, Summerfield Suites, Candlewood Suites and Value Place.
WaterWalk’s franchise concept consists of two-building complexes with fully-furnished suites and unfurnished apartments that range from one to three bedrooms. The company said its construction formula emphasizes energy efficiency and smart space design to minimize operating costs, including allowing the property to be run by a staff of eight.
The first phase of WaterWalk’s initial locale debuted in Wichita last month. In addition, the company said investors have claimed franchises for the concept in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Houston, Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Louisville, Ky.
“Apartments are still being built and managed the same way they were more than 50 years ago, without any recognition of today’s mobile workforce and changing consumer lifestyles,” says DeBoer, WaterWalk’s chairman and ceo. “Tenants are typically forced to sign one-year leases. At the same time, prospective tenants have to make appointments to tour a rental during limited hours, put down hefty security deposits, and are even charged a fee simply to apply. Then, they have to make their own arrangements for cable, internet and every utility, and pay for them separately. None of that is consumer friendly, so we did away with it all.”
Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to the magazine.