Make us your home page
Instagram

Property owners hope to cash in by renting their homes during Republican National Convention

TAMPA

Even Democrats could cash in during the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Certainly developer and hedge fund manager Joel Cantor hopes to. On his walls, he has pictures of his family with First Lady Michelle Obama at a fundraiser he hosted in October at his 12,000 square foot mansion on Davis Islands. But he's willing to hide the photos if he lands a Republican to rent his place for the convention.

The price: $40,000 for the week.

"The dollar is bipartisan," he said, laughing. "Money has no boundaries."

A renter could make dinner in the outdoor pizza oven and sip martinis near the pool or host a gala for a few hundred people. Cantor has already fielded calls from a national media outlet and from the campaign staff of one of the Republican candidates. He declined to reveal which one.

Property owners across Tampa Bay are trying to turn their apartments, condos and homes into rentals for the convention. Nightly and weekly rentals are popping up online, targeting 50,000 delegates, dignitaries and journalists who will invade downtown Tampa as the event begins on Aug. 27.

Units range from one-bedroom apartments at $500 a night to waterfront homes at $18,000 a week. Some owners will hit big. Oprah Winfrey spent $50,000 a week for a home in Denver during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Out-of-town corporate sponsors and wealthy donors often pay thousands per night to rent large waterfront homes and mansions for social events.

Prospective renters proceed at their own risk. The Republican Party has no connection to any private housing being offered.

Currently, the Tampa craigslist page has more than 55 listings for convention-related rentals.

Demand for housing will be enormous. Hotels within 35 minutes of downtown Tampa will be filled. The GOP has about 15,000 hotel rooms booked for four nights.

The same was true for the 2008 GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Then, hundreds of home rentals were listed online with prices ranging from $500 for a room in a home to $20,000 for a five-bedroom house.

Prior to the Democratic convention, the Denver craigslist listed more than 7,000 homes for rent, with prices starting at $750 a night for a one-bedroom to $100,000 for a house for the week. In the end, many prices dropped.

The same could happen here.

"We were disappointed during the last Super Bowl," said Marvin Meeks, owner of Urban Living TampaBay, a boutique real estate company minutes from the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Still, he has been deluged in the past two weeks with inquiries from media and security firms seeking rental properties for the convention.

Residents have also called him to market their properties.

"I have been bombarded," he said. "I foresee this growing as it gets closer."

Properties closest to the forum will draw the highest rental rates. But in the many condo buildings closest to the event, owners will have trouble cashing in because most homeowners associations prohibit rentals for less than seven months.

• • •

Joshua Cahill wants to travel on someone else's dime.

The agent with Quicksilver Real Estate Group recently listed his 783-square-foot condo in Tampa's downtown SkyPoint building. He is asking $2,500 a night, touting a luxury kitchen with granite countertops and private balcony with water views.

He hasn't had any inquires for the one-bedroom unit. But Cahill said he'll drop the price as the convention approaches.

"It's basically a money-making opportunity," he said. "It's hot here at the end of August. If I can rent the place, I might go on a cruise or to Europe for the week."

Michael Boken and his wife see the Tampa convention as a way to pad their savings account.

The couple, who moved to Tampa from New York City in January, want to rent their 2,800 square-foot home near Bayshore Boulevard for $15,000 to $20,000 for the week. The home has a pool and a separate guest house.

Boken commutes to New York for work at an investment-management firm. He and his wife, Leena Danan, are expecting a baby; the rental money would allow Boken to take unpaid time off from work.

"If we could make money from renting the home, we could stay together when the baby is born," Boken said. "We wouldn't have to dip into our savings. That would be great."

Clarissa Grose has two listings. One is a 5,000-square-foot home on Davis Islands for $6,500 a week; the other is a 1,600-square-foot condo on Bayshore Boulevard for about $200 a night.

She knows the dangers of renting to people online, but she plans to do background checks on applicants. She listed the properties after hearing from a friend at Tampa City Hall that some convention attendees might stay as far away as Ocala.

"We have other places we can stay," Grose said. "Why not pocket a little extra cash?

Grose, the office manager for a law firm, also offered herself — for an fee. Her ad states: "For the benefit of the renter, a personal concierge can be provided for planning, errands, transportation, food . . . or any other work related assistance."

She'd like to participate in the buzz around the convention.

"For me, it's a way to put me in the mix of everything," Grose said. "If someone needs groceries, I can do it."

Mark Puente can be reached at mpuente@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/markpuente.

The Cantor house

Location:

Baltic Circle, Tampa

Built: 2010

Total sq. ft.: 11,966

Indoor sq. ft.: 8,595

Bedrooms: 6

Bathrooms: 7

Assessed value:

$2.3 million

Property owners hope to cash in by renting their homes during Republican National Convention 03/30/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 30, 2012 10:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]