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Website Called 'Airbnb for Events' Rents 'Fascinating' Homes by the Hour

By Amy Zimmer | March 1, 2017 4:18pm
 Splacer's Adi Biran (right) and Lihi Gerstner.
Splacer's Adi Biran (right) and Lihi Gerstner.
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For $1,000 per hour, you can hold your company’s next meeting in an East Village synagogue-turned-townhouse with a hot tub and chef’s kitchen owned by a funder who splits time between New York and Aspen.

It’s among the roughly 700 listings on Splacer, which founders Adi Biran and Lihi Gerstner call the Airbnb for event spaces. The two architects launched the platform in Tel Aviv in 2014, renting out their own homes and those of friends for short-term events — like photo shoots, lectures, company workshops or weddings — and have been in New York since 2015.

East Village temple-turned-townhouse on Splacer. (Image courtesy of Splacer)

They spent much of the last year scouting and growing their roster of spaces and recently arrived at the point where spaces are now coming to them, asking to be listed on the site, Biran said.

“We have a team with a great eye and a great sense of style that would search for listings in multiple ways,” Biran said. “We’re still searching. We always want to present the most unusual spaces. Especially in a very expensive city like New York, people understand this can be an additional source of income.”

There are bars, restaurants and galleries looking to make some extra income when not in use. There are churches, synagogues and clubs converted into housing along with other homes, often with lush backyards or expansive rooftops, opening their doors.

In all, 30 percent of the listings are residential spaces, Biran said.

Williamsburg loft on Splacer. (Image courtesy of Splacer)

There’s an “eccentric and aesthetically rich artists loft” in Williamsburg ($350 an hour) that includes a “vast, carefully curated collection of oddities both diverse & prodigious,” according to its listing, which notes its walls of antique tools and kitchen implements, vintage velvet couch, “jungle of plants,” taxidermy and a working 1913 Chickering stand-up piano.

A “cabin-like shingled house” in Bedford-Stuyvesant ($230 an hour) includes a large garage with pool and sauna, and a Geodesic Dome. The “Love Shack” loft in an ex-industrial Bushwick building ($240 an hour) is filled with originally-designed furniture and restored antiques and includes a trio of cats that remain on premises for events.

“Our Alen Breathesmart Air Purifier runs 24/7, eliminating dander from the air,” the posting says. “Allergens have never posed a problem.”

"Love Shack" on Splacer. (Image courtesy of Splacer)

Biran’s goal is to provide spaces that are “fascinating to experience” for a few hours.

“We believe it’s about the story of the person who creates the space with his own being,” she said.

Like Airbnb, Splacer is merely a platform. It’s up to the owner of the space to take responsibility when it comes to figuring out the allowable capacity for an event and what types of gatherings are ideal, Biran said.

“It’s up to them to check what they want to do and what they can do according to the law,” she said. “Some of the space owners like to stay during the events.”

For instance, her own Williamsburg home is on Splacer.

“I don’t do music or have more than 10 people,” she said.

And while Airbnb — which has been the subject of new legislation for violating housing laws — has earned enmity from many New Yorkers for bringing a stream of tourists to their buildings, Biran doesn’t expect the same rancor with Splacer.

“Splacer is all about the local community,” she said “People don’t rent to tourists. They rent to locals.”