Chances are, you know someone who made a quick buck when Pope Francis came to town. Actually, more like a couple thousand bucks. With the Democratic National Convention less than two months away, plenty of homeowners and renters are looking to stuff their pockets again.
Mayor Jim Kenney really wants Philadelphians to stick around during the four-day political extravaganza. Metro reported Wednesdaythat Kenney has been urging locals to stick around, a stark contrast to the mass exodus of locals during the World Meeting of Families last September.
Then there’s the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee, dubbed PHLDNC, which launched the “You Don’t Want to Miss This” campaign this week. In an effort to encourage locals to stick around the city during the convention, July 25-28, organizers have announced a massive gathering of food trucks before the convention and what may be the biggest Center City Sips happy-hour event on July 27.
Still, some are hell-bent on escaping the city.
Homeowners and renters have, once again, taken to rental sites like Airbnb and HomeAway to list their “large,” “bright,” “executive” townhouses, studios and lofts for an outrageous price, and are expecting DNC-goers to pony up the cash.
First up on our list is this “sun-filled” Airbnb rental that sleeps nine, listed only as in the Fairmount neighborhood, and steps from the Art Museum.
This luxe dig boasts a roof-deck with a fire pit, outdoor patio area, home exercise equipment and a jetted tub in one of the bathrooms.
Parking isn’t provided, but the homeowner claims street parking is “generally accessible.”
Whoa!: Homeowners want $3,500 per night, plus a $50 cleaning fee, $843 service fee to Airbnb and a $1,194 city tax. A four-night stay will cost you a whopping $16,087.
2. Fitler Square
This rental, near Cafe Lutecia in Fitler Square,offers part or full access to the home. If you’re just interested in a room, you’ll be sharing living spaces with the homeowners, and you’ll sleep on a pull-out sofa. But renting the entire home gets you accommodations for up to 11.
Homeowners call their spot “walkable,” but wethinks they didn’t get the memo that South Philly is the place to be that week.
Whoa!:To rent the entire home, homeowners are charging $4,500 per night. Add the city’s tax for $850 and a $600 service fee, and that four-night stay runs you $11,450.
This modern and minimalist loft at Arch and 10th streets in Chinatown is walking distance from the Convention Center, City Hall and the Broad Street Line. In fact, the first on our list that offers easiest transportation to the Wells Fargo Center, where most of the politicizing will go down.
The two-bed, two-bathroom loft also claims to be a “quick $10 Uber” ride from the Wells Fargo Center. Guess they didn’t account for surge pricing.
Whoa!: $1,500 per night, a $150 service fee, Home Away’s $338 service fee, $738 tax to the city and a refundable $500 deposit brings your four-night trip to $7,726.25
4. Avenue of the Arts
This “funky” two-bedroom apartmentin south Center City off Broad Street boasts a roof deck, projector TV and some pretty cool interior design.
So far, this might be the most walkable option to the Wells Fargo Center, though for journalists and cameramen traveling with equipment, that won’t be an option. There is no parking on premises. On the plus side, late-night munchies are just across the street.
Whoa!:Usually, this spot goes for $200 each night. But during the DNC, guests will shell out $1,050 per night, plus a $35 cleaning fee, $254 service fee to Airbnb and a $359 tax for a four-night total of $4,848.
These prices aren’t far off from rates for the Pope’s visit, despite the city expecting only about 4,000 delegates, and anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 activists. The World Meeting of Families flooded Center City with nearly 1 million people.
Visit Philly reports there are more than 11,000 hotel rooms in Center City, with another 4,500 rooms near the Philadelphia International Airport.
That said, the city stands to make a quick buck, too.
The three- to four-digit fee tacked onto each rental property is an 8.5-percent Hotel Tax added to all rental agreements made through Airbnb and similar home-rental services. The measure passed last June, ahead of the World Meeting of Families. Meanwhile, the city collects a 15.5-percent tax on hotel rooms within the city limits.
In 2014, the last year for which such data is available, Philadelphia collected more than $52 million from its tax on hotel rooms.