The High End: Sharing an Apartment With Strangers

The High End: Sharing an Apartment With Strangers

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Unlike a standard three-bedroom unit, where a large chunk of the square footage has been devoted to shared living space, and small bedrooms are used primarily as places to sleep, these co-living suites have been specifically designed to accommodate roommates who may not know one another well.

The bedrooms will be larger — from 90 to 187 square feet — than those in most new developments, Mr. Bledsoe said, and include convertible furniture that borrows from micro-living, like a bed that converts to a sofa (mattresses will be flippable, with harder and softer sides), a wall-mounted smart television and a built-in armoire. Rooms will also have individual temperature controls and, perhaps most important of all, soundproofing.

A rendering of a kitchen in a microsuite.

Credit
3D World Renderings

“We put the insulation between bedrooms that we’d normally put between units,” he said.

Each unit will also have a kitchen and at least one bathroom (many will have two, and some bedrooms will have private baths), but no dedicated living room. The assumption is that tenants will spend most of their time holed up in their bedrooms, or else out in the communal amenity spaces.

A number of start-ups have entered the co-living market in the last few years, among them WeWork’s residential arm, WeLive, and Common, but most projects have focused on smaller-scale renovations, creating what are essentially luxury iterations of group-house living, rather than large-scale, ground-up construction. Though it is clear that most players see this as the future of the market: Common recently opened a ground-up development in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, with space for 140 residents.

Mr. Bledsoe said that while multifamily investors could be wary of new models, he hoped that the Northern Boulevard project, which was able to secure a $150 million construction loan from the American International Group, would show institutional-grade developers that co-living is not a narrow niche.

A rendering for the Northern Boulevard project.

Credit
SBJ Group

To that end, Mr. Bledsoe said that Ollie, which like the others expects to draw most of its tenants from the young professional pool, has tried to make its marketing materials less aggressively hipster-ish.

“We realized we have a long tail of non-millennials, which is important when you’re scaling,” he said. “You’re not going to fill up 426 beds with freelancers and tech workers.”

Rents at the project, which have yet to be made final, are expected to start around $1,450 a month per room, and will include all furnishings, Wi-Fi, premium cable, social activities and weekly housekeeping with fresh linens and towels. Even the shampoo and conditioner bottles will be topped off regularly.

To address the fact that many potential tenants may not know people in the city with whom they might share an apartment, Ollie has developed an app, called Bedvetter, to help people select and match up with roommates. Rooms in the building will not be rented out individually. The start is planned to coincide with preleasing, in October. Completion is expected in January 2018.

Correction: May 5, 2017

An earlier version of a picture caption accompanying this article misidentified a room shown in a rendering for the Northern Boulevard project in Long Island City, Queens. The room is a common lounge area, not a suite.

Correction: May 5, 2017

An earlier version of a picture credit accompanying this article, using information provided by a publicist for Ollie, misstated the firm that created an exterior rendering for the Northern Boulevard project. The firm is SBJ Group, not 3D World Renderings.

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