Bezos-backed Start-up Sonder Signs Lease at Z Hotel in LIC

LIC Developers still win even after aborted HQ2 plans

Long Island City Skyline. Credit: Max Touhey

(QUEENS, NEW YORK)— Sonder, a hospitality start-up, has signed a lease at Merchants Hospitality’s Z Hotel in Long Island City, QNS reports. Sonder’s LIC lease has a seven-year term at minimum, with the possibility of 17-years with extensions.

Sonder is hospitality start-up that makes hotels that feel like Airbnbs. It operates stylish home-like spaces to people who are leery of common homeowners, and would rather the sterility and professionalism of an actual hotel but with a semblance of intimacy and homeliness. Their tagline is, “It’s not someone’s house. It’s a Sonder. You’ll always know what you can expect before you walk in the door.”

The lease represents a big win for Merchant’s Hospitality, which had invested $38 million to renovate the building in the past few years. The Z Hotel is very near where Amazon HQ2 was set to rise, and the company had likely counted on an influx of new LIC wealth when planning the renovations.

However, with tentacles in a diverse array of subsidiary companies across industries, Jeff Bezos as never as far away as one might hope. Bezos Expedition is a primary investment partner of Sonder, as are Elon Musk and baseball star Alex Rodriguez.

Merchant Hospitality Principal Adam Hochfelder still credits the failed Amazon HQ2 for the recent boom in business. Hochfelder told QNS that the serve of press coverage for LIC during and after the Amazon debacle, “made other companies realize how great Long Island City is and how many great tenants are moving there.”

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