Scott Rechler was negotiating a deal to build Airbnb rentals in a Manhattan office tower when the real estate developer had an epiphany. Tree houses and other unconventional lodgings were popular on the home-sharing site. Why not a ship?
Rechler, chief executive officer of RXR Realty, had a vessel in mind. For decades, cruise operators and real estate people have been trying to revive a mothballed ocean liner called the SS United States. Encouraged by his conversations with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, Rechler decided to take the plunge.