Over the past decade, coworking has proven to be more than just a trend. It has radically changed the way in which many of us work today, and reformulated our perception of what an office should look like. Co-living, a style of shared urban residence, usually includes furnished apartments with shared kitchens and common areas and focuses on services and community. Millennial benefits include accessibility, flexibility, and ease of use.
Not so long ago, new companies such as WeWork’s Common, The Collective, Ollie, and WeLive began experimenting with the application of the coworking model. These companies are certainly in the real estate industry, but their offers are built with a community philosophy, shared space, and a social life, and good furniture, pre-installed Internet and television, kitchen distribution, grocery store for you, dry cleaning service and many social activities. Think of running clubs, yoga and happy hours.
As most of these startups try to stay lean and avoid the difficulties associated with owning and developing a real estate project, they have partnered with established developers and landlords and became management companies on behalf of the owner of these properties.
Most companies that live together have not yet developed a very profitable business model, and WeWork has even abandoned its expansion plans for WeLive. However, big developers like the Durst Organization and the Property Markets Group have recently decided to jump into the car of the common life and test it for themselves.
According to reports, Durst is testing the concept with a dozen communities in Frank 57 West, a ten-story building in Manhattan. Each of these units is slightly larger than 1000 square feet and contains coexisting devices such as multiple bathrooms with doors that indicate whether they are occupied or not.
PMG has set up a new department called X Social Communities, which has about 5,800 coexistence units in the project and will include living areas. The company currently offers 120 apartments in Chicago and has more jobs across the country, but none in Manhattan. “In the end, we’ve steered the process from nuts to soup, from buying the land to creating the product.” PMG Director Ryan Shear recently told the Wall Street Journal.
As the co-living model continues to adapt, different developers are adopting different approaches to implementation. Neil Shekhter, founder, and CEO of NMS Properties, told that he identified the need for an inclusive and immaculate lifestyle in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. As one of the largest developers in the region, NMS currently manages more than 70 Los Angeles County properties.
“We create a high-quality housing market in prime locations for tenants looking for a unique experience at an affordable price,” he said. With insatiable demand for housing in large urban areas such as Santa Monica, Westchester, Brentwood, Westwood and other locations in West Los Angeles, offers a luxurious apartment to meet the needs and budgets of consumers by taking over the full-service model However, the company is confident that it will be able to offer high-quality all-inclusive apartments at an affordable price.
In 2017, NMS deployed 40 furnished units in Los Angeles County, and Shekhter plans to triple that annual number each year for the next few years. The company is currently managing some of its properties, testing a pilot project with Blok, an emerging co-living company, and plans to work with other housing providers over the coming months.
The Domain Companies, a developer based in New York and New Orleans, recently announced plans for a mixed-use property in Salt Lake City. “Our concept goes beyond micro-units or co-living,” said Matt Schwartz, director of the company. “Although they share similar themes, we see this concept as an evolution of the first micro-unit formats, and the apartments use creative designs and furniture solutions to maximize efficiency and accessibility.”