These days you can crowdfund pretty much anything, from flying bikes, to glowing plants, and a headset that lets your dog talk – so why not a building? That’s precisely the idea behind Prodigy Network, a crowdfunding company that has launched the world’s first crowdsourcing platform for real estate development, architecture and urban planning. Rodrigo Nino founded Prodigy Network with the goal of democratizing real estate investing, and the organization just announced plans to crowdsource an innovative hotel in New York City’s financial district. The 17 John “Cotel” will tap into the crowd for investment and design to improve and evolve the form and function of the modern business hotel. Read on to learn more about this exciting new venture and the future of crowdfunded architecture.

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17 John is an art-deco building that was built in the 1920s, and currently serves as an apartment building located a block away from One World Trade Center in New York City’s Financial District. Prodigy Network recently purchased the building and plans to convert the whole thing into a fancy new long-stay business hotel by adding a glassy top which will grow out of the original art-deco structure. The new glass top was designed by Achi-Tectonics principal Winka Dubbeldam, and it will stand 23 stories high and offer 191 furnished units (including studios and one and two-bedroom apartments). 17 John’s model tenant is the modern business traveler, and the project will feature a range of interactive systems and design features that encourage collaboration and innovation. Prodigy representatives describe the project as “a hotel/co-working space meets LinkedIn” with collaborative work environments, business networking and events along with extended-stay suites.

Lounges will be available to all guests for relaxing, networking, and social engagements, and the hotel will host frequent events to bring together entrepreneurs and professionals. An online digital platform will also enable guests to connect to each other and to hotel staff. 17 John will also have a full suite of features and services including a restaurant, a gym, a spa, and a rooftop deck.

The “Cotel” will be a collaborative project both in terms of its design and its funding. Anyone will be able to invest in the project and “enjoy the benefits of ownership in the best real estate in the world.” Interested buyers will be able to purchase REP (Real Estate Participation) shares at a cost of $100,000 a piece that entitle them a share in the project’s operating returns and equity appreciation.

Prodigy Network is also seeking to crowdsource the design of the Cotel – from its suites and public spaces to its digital services. To kick things off they will be launching a public design competition to tap the community for ideas. If you’d like to participate, now’s the time to start brainstorming – the competition will launch on February 20th at Social Media Week in New York.

+ Prodigy Network

+ 17 John Cotel