Sam Zell will rent you office space, an apartment, a site for your mobile home or a slip for your yacht. Want to sleep in a yurt or a tepee? He’s got some of those, too. For $69 a night, he’ll even let you and your family crash in a covered wagon.
Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Zell’s mobile-home and RV park business, Equity LifeStyle Properties, is now courting the glamping set. Last year, the Chicago-based company created a brand, Petite Retreats, to promote unconventional vacation rentals at its properties in an effort to reach beyond its core market of recreational vehicle owners. Fifteen of Equity LifeStyle’s parks—from Door County, Wis., to the Sierra Nevada in California — offer yurts, while four properties include tiny houses on wheels, some not much bigger than a horse trailer.
The company, the largest owner of mobile-home and RV parks in North America, is joining the crowd rather than forging a new path for the industry, which has been expanding its rental options for a while. In addition to tepees and yurts, a Pennsylvania park owned by competitor Sun Communities includes a double-decker bus, train caboose and treehouse that all sleep a family of four.
Tepees and yurts offer an additional, albeit small, revenue source for Equity LifeStyle, a real estate investment trust founded by Zell that has been on a roll lately. One of three REITs led by the billionaire financier, the company began as a basic operator of mobile-home parks but has expanded over the years into the upper end of the market, catering to retirees with money, not just working-class tenants on a budget.
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