Serial entrepreneur and hotelier Jack DeBoer will try a new concept when he breaks ground Friday morning on his $10million, 133-unit apartment complex near the southwest corner of Maple and McLean.
The new concept, DeBoer said in an interview earlier this week, involves branding those apartments as Value Place Apartments — after his growing extended-stay hotel chain that now operates in 32 states — and offering a range of lease options for apartment dwellers that will include leases as short as one week. His company also plans to franchise the concept.
“Three months, six months, one week, everything you need, if you need that,” said DeBoer, who is considered by the hospitality industry as a pioneer of the extended-stay and all-suite hotel concepts. “The real plus, of course, is I wanted to do the first one in Wichita. Then we’ll roll that out across the country.”
Wichita is where DeBoer built the first Residence Inn, a business that he eventually sold to Marriott. His home turf was also the first to have Summerfield and Candlewood Hotels, which were later sold to Hyatt Corp. and InterContinental Hotels Group, respectively. Value Place is his newest concept, started shortly before opening the first Value Place hotel at K-96 and Oliver in 2003. The company now has 184 hotels, 50 of which are company-owned.
“We’ve done four brands now, and they are all different, and they all worked well,” he said. “Here we go again.”
DeBoer decided to brand the apartments Value Place because the name has recognition in the marketplace. Branding also will help as more Value Place Apartments are rolled out nationwide. “It will be a separate brand owned by Value Place,” he said.
He thinks there is a large market for Value Place Apartments and the concept of flexible leases.
“The whole market is so broad, so big for people who need short-term residential property; we wanted to expand,” DeBoer said.
He said the untapped market for his apartments could include: companies, people in between homes or insurance-loss situations.
“It’s people who don’t want to pay $90 a night for a hotel or they don’t want a six-month or 12-month lease,” DeBoer said. “So we fill that gap.”
DeBoer said leases at his first Value Place Apartments will include furnished and unfurnished apartments, in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations. Lease rates have not been established, but monthly rates are expected to start at about $900 a month, which will include utilities as well as cable television and wireless Internet.
“It has everything we’ve learned in building Value Place: no carpet, high-quality wood floors, LED lighting, 6-inch exterior (walls), extra soundproofing between rooms and floors,” he said.
DeBoer said he is not concerned with Value Place Apartments possibly competing with Value Place hotels, three of which operate in the city.
“It’s in a different price point, and it’s a different size,” he said. “I think it’s another segment of that whole STRP (short-term residential property) market. Value Place (hotels) is a very straightforward … kind of thing and this is more than that.”
The Wichita apartments are expected to be complete by spring 2014, DeBoer said. They will be on 4.4 acres of city-owned land, which Value Place is leasing for $1 a year for 93 years. That agreement was approved by the Wichita City Council last September. DeBoer noted that Value Place is not receiving any other incentives. “We’ll pay full taxes.”
The general contractor is Accel Construction. Law Kingdon is the architect.