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.


{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Dean Dalvit September 24, 2017 at 7:21 am

This data is not broken down in that way. However, RSmeans does have individual trade information by region and I highly recommend you go to their website. They do charge a fee for the information, but you can find detailed labor and material cost for just about every trade in the building industry. Best of luck with your project!

Chad September 23, 2017 at 3:50 pm

Being asked to bid weather tight framing for a 4 story extended stay with 84 rooms. No restaurant, just common area with self serve wine bar. Pool room. Any idea of square foot price for framing, windows and TyVek?
Also, trim package is being requested for the 84 rooms with small kitchens and some kitchenettes.
I have some general ideas but do not want to leave any money on the table.

Dean Dalvit January 3, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Thank you for your question. The RSMeans construction cost data that we have does not extend outside of the US, however we can help you. I will send you an email separately and we can discuss further.

SADIK ADEM January 3, 2017 at 1:43 am

Dear Sir/Madam
Let my message find you with joy and happiness with good wishes for the new year
Your good name and address is known to me through web search for construction cos estimation for residential apartments
As the business is growing in Ethiopia I am planning to start up a real estate business jointly with a foreign individual partner or with already established foreign real estate company in need of diversification of their existing business abroad
I am an Ethiopian by Nationality a residing in the capital city Addis Ababa
I need your assistance at this moment to provide me a preliminary project cost estimation for high rise 12 level apartment building having the following facility
-General feature of the apartment
-total plot area -500-700mt/sq
-Approximate built up area- approximately 60percent
-single level underground parking
-Number of units /floor- 2 family unit with three bed rooms each
-Top floor -penthouse for 2 families if possible
-ground floor and first floor-Shopping area
-Second floor- office facility for various purposes
-Residential floor– Third floor —–Seventh floor residential
-Service elevators -2 Lifts of capacity according to the standard/aprox 6-8 passengers/
Please indicate all the necessary cost parameters and estimation to be considered in the design
-Electrical engineering
-HAVC engineering
-Sanitary engineering
-site survey cost
-Land purchase
-Permits and supervision
-Submersible pump installation
-Standby generator set with all control units
Other necessary references required …….
Thanking you in advance please send your reply ASAP
From Ethiopia

Dean Dalvit August 5, 2016 at 9:15 pm

I’m not sure where your project location is, but $200 a square foot is a very healthy budget and can typically get you a higher end product. That is of course if you’re not in a dense urban area where construction costs are naturally higher. To answer your questions though: foundation costs – included. excavation costs – included. FF&E costs – not included.

Dennis Naughton August 5, 2016 at 8:22 pm

Dear Dean,
I am told to use $200.00 a square foot to estimate the cost to build a hotel, other than soft costs, does that include the excavation, foundation and FF&E? So 72,540 SF is $14,508,000.00 plus soft costs? Assume a mid-scale

Dean Dalvit April 21, 2016 at 11:43 am

Marishia, Can you give me more information about your project? Is it a national hotel chain or boutique hotel? Level of service? Level of finish? Amenities you plan to provide? Any site information that may be relevant? We have an office in Texas and can greatly simplify your life by handling all of the Architectural Design and Engineering for the entire project with one seamless and coordinated team. Please let me know how we can help. Thanks!

marishia April 21, 2016 at 6:45 am

I would like to know what if am gonna build new hotel with 50 rooms near Houston airport need an average cost for furnish room

Dean Dalvit May 7, 2015 at 10:17 pm

Sure thing Kevi, what exactly would you like to know?

Kevi Brennan May 7, 2015 at 5:57 pm

I am interested in knowing more about construction costs for boutique hotels in Miami, Florida.

Dean Dalvit November 4, 2013 at 8:12 am

The RSMeans data presented here is not broken down by trade or discipline. RSMeans does have detailed data available at 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,

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


Dean Dalvit August 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm

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

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

Dean Dalvit July 24, 2013 at 10:38 am

Hello Otsile,

Thank you for your question! We have done a number of similar projects in Canada, only not specifically in Quebec. The multifamily work we have done is over in Saskatchewan, and we have also completed a number of multifamily projects in the US that are similar in nature to what you are describing.

The building you are describing, if I understand correctly, is 6 units each floor for a total of 18 units. All units would be 2 bedrooms. Do you want an interior corridor to serve the units, or are all units accessed from the exterior? Is your parking all surface parking, or are you parking below the building? What other amenities would you be providing for the residents?

The unit space would represent approximately 18,000-20,000 square feet, but those other elements would certainly have an impact to the size of the building and the cost of construction. With that, our experience in more urban areas for this project type fall between $170 and $210 USD per square foot. Again, though, we would need more information to arrive at the total square footage for the building in order to get a conceptual estimate for the project. Also, under-building parking does not carry the same cost per square foot as the finished space.

EVstudio provides full scope architecture and engineering services and we would be happy to discuss this project with you further. Please let me know and we would be happy to help. Thanks!

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