Construction Cost per Square Foot for Hotels, Motels and Apartments

by Dean Dalvit on August 14, 2010

Hospitality and multifamily design have many common factors and we have worked on many projects in both sectors. This post is specifically focused on the construction Cost per Square Foot for Hotels, Motels and Apartment Buildings across several regions in the United States.

So, how much does it cost to build a hotel, motel or apartment building by square foot? While this will depend heavily on the design of the building, and its location, there is some guidance based on data collected nationally and analyzed by RSMeans, the industry leader in construction cost estimating and analysis. Local economy is a very important factor in construction cost as well as the type of construction you intend to build. Note, that not all types of construction cost the same per square foot, and even more importantly, the cost of construction per square foot varies significantly with location.

Below are three different types of hospitality and multifamily construction and the varying cost per square foot to expect for each in different regions.  All graph images are courtesy of RSMeans Construction Cost Data. Data source: Reed Construction Data – RSMeans/Charts: Reed Construction Data – CanaData

Construction Cost per Square Foot of 2-3 Story Motel

As you can see from the range of cost per square foot, location alone can represent as much as 70% of the cost driver for a 2-3 Story Motel. The median for this type of construction is between $170 and $180 per square foot. Not surprisingly, New York tops the charts for most expensive city to build in at over $234 per square foot. Winston-Salem consistently ranks as the most inexpensive city to build in at $134 per square foot for motels.

Construction Cost per Square Foot for 4-7 Story Hotel

Building vertical always provides an economy of scale for larger structures, and that is noted with taller hotel construction. As these costs are spread out over greater square footage, we see a median cost in the mid $160 range with $217 on the high end and $124 on the low end.

Construction Cost per Square Foot 4-7 Story Apartment Building

At the lowest end of the cost spectrum is the 4-7 story apartment building. Similar to the Hotels, taking advantage of the vertical construction, apartment buildings also are not required to have the variety of functions that are necessary in a hotel. While amenities will be very specific to projects, on average, apartment buildings median cost are in the low $160′s per square foot with a range of $121 on the low end to $212 on the high end.

It is increasingly important to understand the cost drivers for any commercial project and how building type, construction type and location can all be huge variables that will drive your cost per square foot. These are always a part of the initial programming discussions and the Architect will play a huge role in helping to define the ranges of cost to expect for the project.

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean Dalvit November 4, 2013 at 8:12 am

Brenda,
The RSMeans data presented here is not broken down by trade or discipline. RSMeans does have detailed data available at RSMeans.com that is the industry standard for contractor index pricing for individual trades and tasks. Additionally, I will have our Director of Mechanical Engineering touch base with you to see how we can help you with your project. Our Texas office just North of Austin and we would be happy to assist on any of the disciplines for your project. Thanks!

Brenda November 4, 2013 at 7:31 am

Can you tell me what it would cost to plumb a new build, 3-story, 82 unit Hotel in Austin? That would include all material, permit fees, etc. I look forward to your response.
Thank you,
Brenda

Dean Dalvit September 23, 2013 at 8:34 am

Lacy, are you asking about the cost per square foot to clean this facility? We can speak to construction costs, but any specific trade really needs to be estimated based on your direct costs. RSMeans does have cost information for individual trades, so you can see if you can find your specific need in their database, but it is based on averages and you should not rely on any index based information like this for your business. Best of luck.

LACY September 23, 2013 at 8:27 am

GOOD MORNING DEAN!!! MY COMPANY HAS BEEN ASKED TO SUBMIT A ROUGH AND A FINAL INTERIOR\EXTERIOR. CLEANING TURNKEY BID OF AN ASSISTED LIVING (under construction) COMPLEX IN HOUSTON,TX.. THE FACILITY IS 234,989 SQ.FT. , WHICH INCLUDES 1 & 2 BEDROOM APARTMENTS SOME WITH GARAGES AND ALSO WITH ACTIVITY CTR., AMENITY CTR., MAINT. RM., LAUNDRY RM. AND STORAGE CLOSETS. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE AVERAGE PRICE PER SQ. FOOTAGE WOULD BE ON A PROJECT OF THIS MAGNITUDE? THANKS

Dean Dalvit August 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Sue,
You should not put your or anyone else’s investment at such great risk as attempting a project of this magnitude without any experience. You would need to find an experienced development team that includes everyone from finance to Architects, Engineers, attorneys, contractors, marketing, sales, etc… We can help with Architecture and Engineering, however, who else do you have on your team? The questions you’re posing seem rather inexperienced. If you do not have an experienced development team, my advice to you is to invest in a REIT and leave it to the experts who do this every day. Best of luck!

Dean Dalvit August 4, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Rami,
The finish cost may be in the ballpark of $40-$80 per sq.ft., however that will not include FF&E. RSMeans does not break out numbers for FF&E and only address the building construction costs. However, a furnishing consultant should easily be able to provide that for you based on your actual design and program for interiors. Best of luck with your project!

Rami August 1, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Dear Dean,

I’m really impressed with the accuracy of answers and preliminary guiding. I’m working on one floor of apprx 10,000 sqft in an existing building in Daytona Beach (converting it from office space to boutique hotel) .I will not touch now on the cost of the MEP as it is substantial, however I ask you kindly to guide me through the cost of finishing and FF&E per square foot .Initially the rooms are within the range of 300 square foot each and is intended to be classified as 2-3 stars select service hotel.. Many thanks
Rami

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