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Airbnb units a new addition to annual downtown Syracuse real estate tour

New apartment units in downtown Syracuse are opening their doors this weekend to show off the city lifestyle.

The annual event from the Downtown Committee of Syracuse gives visitors a peek at apartments in the area and for the first time this year, features short-term rental opportunities on the self-guided walking tour.

This year’s ticket to the Downtown Living Tour set for Saturday also includes deals and discounts at eateries, museums and retail locations to offer participants a tourist experience.

Heather Schroeder, economic development director for Downtown Committee of Syracuse , said the $15 event gives residents a taste of being a tourist in their hometown. Schroeder also said this year’s 16th annual tour occurs as downtown units are at nearly maximum capacity.

"We have such high demand that there aren’t that many units available to show," Schroeder said.

Some property owners with units included in the tour are seizing the opportunity to market their spaces as short-time vacation rentals. Jeff Appel is a partner at Beacon Armory LLC, which developed one of the apartment buildings in the tour.

Appel said he previously focused on renting to long-term tenants, but lately, he has seen success with Airbnb.

"We think that we tapped into a market that’s a little underserved in Syracuse, which is skewed a little bit toward the upper end," Appel said, noting six out of eight apartments in one building are on Airbnb.

Appel said some visitors are traveling from across the world for a short-term stay.

“People always say to me, ‘Who are these people coming to visit Syracuse?’ and I say, “Well, they’re every kind of person you could imagine, literally from Europe, from Asia. They’re students, they’re business executives, they are people visiting family members,"  Appel said.

The tour takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.
Matt Wrigley comes from Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, and is pursuing his Broadcast and Digital Journalism degree at Newhouse. His goal is to be a beat writer for a Philadelphia sports team or a broadcaster for NBC/NBC Sports. This semester at WAER, he's looking forward to gaining confidence with interviews and improving his news writing.