With co-working spaces now firmly established as a happy medium between café-working and renting an office, there’s a growing buzz for “co-living” as well. Not to be confused with short-term live/work product Roam, or work and travel program Remote Year, the latest wave of co-living developers target people who are really living in a city, not just passing through.
Property Markets Group claims the only developer-operated and developer-managed co-living brand on the market in its X Social Communities product, and is investing heavily in that X factor, with 10,000 units in the pipeline. The X Social Communities product is more luxurious and less “dorm rooms for grownups” than competitors such as Common and Starcity. Buildings are now open in Chicago and Miami, with ground broken on X Denver and X Fort Lauderdale.
The units are similar in layout to suite hotel plans (1, 2, or 3BR), and PMG is building each one from scratch to ensure the product’s specific configuration. And PMG is after people who could probably afford their own space – just not at the level of luxury or constant entertainment the X Social experience offers.
“Because the point is to get people out of their rooms and into public spaces, our buildings have massive amenity platforms,” says X Social Communities principal Ryan Shear. X Miami has, for example, a Las Vegas-style pool deck that can accommodate dozen; a bar and coffee lounge that’s open to the public; a central courtyard and event space; and a two-level co-working area.
Shear says that the most common feedback he gets from residents of the first X Social buildings is, “I’m not sacrificing anything. I’m in a top quality building in a desirable location, and I’m paying less.”
Could most of these people actually find a decent apartment rental or even a single-family for the same or less money? Probably. A quick browse through the X Miami inventory shows that furnished bedrooms start around $1400. The point is, a traditional 1BR apartment in Miami that rents for $1400 would be not only small and probably dismal-looking, but not well maintained and probably not safe-feeling.
X, by contrast, offers a product that’s newly built, newly furnished, stylish, and fully managed. That goes a long way with young professionals moving to a new city for work purposes. Factor in the cost savings of a share-rental without the hassle of finding roommates, and with independent leases for each tenant--and the convenience factor sharply increases. (Each building allows tenants to move a certain number of times within a 1-year lease period if they simply don’t get along with assigned roommates.) The built-in community of people in the same income bracket with similar interests has a lot of appeal in places like Chicago and Miami, where it can be hard to make solid connections. And the fact that everyone there had to pass background and credit screenings? That goes a long way toward a feeling of security, for a generation where nobody’s necessarily what they say they are.
There are enough people moving into X buildings as a couple or a pre-arranged roommate group that X does offer 1, 2 and 3BR full-unit rental as an option to bedroom rental. In X Miami, the main advantage to renting entire units is that you can have pets. Which leads to the next logical question: what about when Baby comes along? Do people move out, either by choice or by community rules? The answer is definitively no.
“There are definitely families that live there,” says Shear. “The perception is, it’s geared toward unmarried Millennials, but that’s not necessarily the reality.”
In fact, he says that the X Social Communities brand was born out of existing renter demand in the original Chicago building, which was originally built as traditional apartment housing but evolved to be the flagship X Logan Square. (A second X Chicago opened in June of 2018.) There are already 30 people at PMG working specifically on the X product.
“It grew quick,” says Shear. “Collectively, we think this is where the multi-family space is headed.”
And they're betting big... but only time will tell if they are right.
This article was originally published by Lena Katz, Real Estate contributor at FORBES. Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lenakatz/2018/10/31/property-markets-group-says-future-of-co-living-is-posh-but-pet-friendly-with-cocktail-service/#a37fe8851c68