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According to the Wall Street Journal, the project appears to be in part a shift to other sources of revenue as Airbnb's short-term rental business—the service that fueled its explosive growth—faces major pressure from local governments that accuse it of enabling a sprawling black market in illegal hotels, violating local housing regulations, and driving up rent by taking housing units off the market to cater to tourists and other visitors. In New York, it is illegal in most buildings for apartments to be listed for less than 30 days without a permanent tenant being home at the same time, and city regulators have been increasingly aggressive about cracking down on some of the biggest alleged offenders. The city has also been waging a legal battle to force Airbnb to hand over "user and listing data on approximately 20,000 apartment listings," per HousingWire.

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