Developer Eyes Downtown Sacramento Lot for Site of Airbnb-Style Hotel

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SACRAMENTO — A Fairfield developer is hoping to build the first app-based hotel in downtown Sacramento that will operate without a lobby, front desk or staff.

The 14i Hotel, located near 14th and I streets, would be six stories tall and contain 19 units on what is now a tiny, empty lot.

David Sowels of Cogent Bay Inc. said he examined properties in midtown Sacramento for short-term rental properties but found the city’s rules too restrictive. The city limits the number of rental days to 90 or less if is not a primary residence.

The hotel would be operated by Airbnb and guests would access their rooms through an app that gets them their room keys.

The hotel would have no parking but there are numerous public parking lots or garages less than half a block away. One of them is next door.

The city planning staff must still determine if there will be a noise issue, which is a common problem at Airbnb rentals where large parties are held. But Sowels said the rooms would be too small for parties.

Whether the lot should be used for more permanent housing may also be an issue.

Sowels, who has not run a hotel before, said the model is used in other areas and he hopes his hotel will be the first in Sacramento.

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