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Why Everyone Is Buzzing About a Potential Co-Living Building in Boston's South End

The way people experience living arrangements in Boston could change forever if a development firm in the city has its way. The developer behind the sprawling Ink Block development in South End Boston would like to add a new 14-story building that offers co-living arrangements. Newton-based National Development is working with a company out of New York that operates collective buildings across the United States. Ollie already offers similar properties to the one that is proposed for Boston around the United States. The company has been looking for a way to introduce its unique spin on co-living buildings to Boston for quite some time. A partnership with National Development seems to be coming at just the right time because there is a heightened interest in ultra-convenient and unconventional living accommodations happening right now.

Both developers and residents in Boston have been hearing a lot about the proposed co-living building in Boston’s South End. This is naturally raising some questions regarding what a co-living situation actually is. It is also raising questions about whether such an arrangement is ultimately good for Boston. Many people who look into co-living options may be surprised to find out what this arrangement is and isn’t. Many people think of compromise and cramped quarters when they picture a co-living situation. The reality is that a shared approach to living doesn’t have to force tenants to sacrifice privacy or luxury. In fact, the proposed building that may go up in Boston’s South End within the next few years is actually designed to offer luxurious touches that even the most elite renters could only dream of enjoying at their apartment complexes.

What Is a Co-Living Apartment Building?

A co-living arrangement goes a step beyond the tradition of simply having a roommate. A co-living building provides a personal space for each tenant that can include a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. However, the rest of the living space that a tenant can enjoy is actually shared with neighbors. This can include things like lounges, terraces and recreational areas.

The apartments in the proposed new building won’t exactly blow tenants away with square footage. Around 245 units are expected to be created inside the new building. However, many of them will be smaller than 400 square feet in size. The allure of a co-living apartment buildings is that the small size of each unit won’t actually restrict what tenants can do or how much they can enjoy their living spaces because there are plenty of communal areas to utilize. The building will provide tons of services and activities to draw tenants out of their small apartments. Things like wine tastings and scheduled sightseeing tours will integrate where a person lives with the things they love to do. The thought behind this kind of setup is that each tenant’s apartment will merely be a space where they can sleep, shower, cook meals and take care of the basic tasks of life. The rest of life can be lived in the fun communal spaces throughout the building.

Who Is a Co-Living Apartment Building Designed to Attract?

People who value their privacy may be wondering who exactly would be attracted to such a setup. The minds behind Boston’s buzzworthy new building proposal have millennials in mind. This unique setup offers the easy, carefree type of living style that millennials are looking for. Young people who are living on their own for the first time can experience a fun, comfortable place to live without putting a lot of energy into maintenance. Tenants can theoretically show up with little more than a box full of life’s essentials when it’s time to move in.

Price will also play a big role in the way this new building is marketed toward the millennial population. The rental rates offered will be slightly less than what's charged for comparable units in buildings in nearby neighborhoods. Just how much less will tenants of the new building pay compared to people in neighboring buildings? It is expected that monthly rates will be about 10 percent less. The developer behind the building will be able to make this happen because of the fact that each unit in the proposed co-living building will be slightly smaller than what comparable options charge.

There is an aspect of stability to the proposed co-living building that will give younger renters who don’t want to hop from place to place a sense of peace. Most people who have attempted to rent in a building that offers shared living quarters already know that short-term leases are the standard. A six-month lease isn’t exactly ideal for a young person looking to put down some roots and become established in the city. This is why the new co-living building being proposed for the Ink Block will offer one-year leases and two-year leases.

Why Co-Living Arrangements Work in Some Cities

There’s no denying that we live in an era that keeps people more connected than ever. However, there is also a looming sense of loneliness that many people in big cities experience due to a lack of personal connections. This can be a big source of anguish for millennials who are moving out on their own for the first time. Many millennials who move to Boston following college are used to living in communal spaces like dorm rooms or apartment buildings filled with other college students. This lifestyle simply means that sharing a television or heading out to the lawn for an impromptu game of volleyball are parts of life. All of that goes away very suddenly when a young person moves out on their own and enters the workforce for the first time. The combination of working long hours and living in an apartment building full of older tenants and families can cause a millennial to feel isolated. In addition, it can be extremely hard to meet new people.

A co-living building solves this problem by creating a built-in community right where a person lives. This means that a person who chooses to live in such a building will have the advantage of encountering people whenever they want to watch a movie on the building’s large-screen television or spend a little time getting work done on their laptop while enjoying sunshine on one of the building’s terraces. This is extremely attractive to many people.

Boredom certainly won’t be an issue for the tenants lucky enough to snag spots when the city’s new communal apartment building goes up. The building will have its own live-in community manager. This manager will be responsible for organizing events and activities for tenants.

Why Boston Is the Right Area for Co-Living Buildings

Can a city survive if it ignores the needs of millennials? The answer to that question could shape urban landscapes throughout the country for decades to come. Boston’s reputation as a college town makes it an ideal choice to lead the way when it comes to the co-living revolution that is taking root in the real estate market. Boston has always been known for its young population. In addition, its many colleges and universities create the right environment for introducing living options that make it easy for residents to make the transition from college dorms to grownup apartments. What is particularly interesting about Boston is that it is a city with the highest share of people actively renting out spare rooms via Craigslist. This points to the big demand that exists for unique living options.

Why the Ink Block Development Is the Right Spot for This Type of Project

The South End’s Ink Block is ushering in a new way of experiencing life in Boston. The area serves as the perfect spot for the birth of the co-living movement in the city because of the fact that it already attracts young residents looking to savor life in the city and enjoy a connected, social lifestyle. While Ink Block is a part of the city that has made headlines for being hip and current, it isn’t a place that is too overpriced for the city’s younger renters. In fact, the area has been specially designed to offer affordable living in a very posh package. Ink Block gives hope to young people looking to settle in Boston because it offers proof that urban living can be achieved without the need to pay unreasonable or unachievable rental prices every month.

The Special Touches That Will Be Offered by the Proposed Co-Living Property in Boston’s South End

The small sizes and reasonable rates that will be offered by the units in the South End’s proposed 14-unit building shouldn’t lead observers into thinking that tenants won’t get to experience a taste of luxury. In fact, the setup will pamper tenants in ways that are usually reserved for residents of high-end skyscraper apartments. There will actually be something akin to a maid service that changes sheets and takes care of other essential tasks for tenants. The building’s housekeeping services will take care of linens and towels. In addition, tenants won’t have to worry about remembering to pay for Wi-Fi and cable each month. Both of those utilities will be taken care of by building management and automatically included in the cost of rent. Some tenants won’t even have to worry about taking care of the task of furnishing their own apartments. Many of the proposed units will actually come with custom-built furniture that is ready to be used. The building is aptly being described as a millennial resort by the people behind its design.

Is the Co-Living Building in the South End’s Ink Block a Sure Thing?

The proposed co-living building for Boston’s popular Ink Block area is certainly drumming up a lot of publicity. Many people are eager to be among the first to try out this innovative living situation. However, the building isn’t exactly a done deal yet. The project still needs to earn the approval of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. National Development’s clout and reputation certainly make the likelihood of an approval look promising. However, the decision will ultimately come down to whether or not such an arrangement is good for the neighborhood and the city. Things look positive as of right now. The proposed 14-story building is in compliance with all of the zoning outlines that currently exist for the Ink Block neighborhood. In addition, there hasn’t been a lot of resistance regarding the plan. City officials have generally been very receptive to the idea. National Development hopes to begin construction on the project in the early part of 2018 if all goes according to plan. There is no doubt that there will be lots of interest among potential tenants if and when the building is finally ready to begin accepting lease applications. The success of this project could ultimately determine if more co-living buildings open in Boston in the future.

The bottom line is that Boston stands to benefit from the addition of a co-living building in the South End’s Ink Block area. Affordable and attractive rental options will draw talented young professionals to the city. This is important at a time when high rents and an expensive cost of living are deterring many young people from staying in the city once they graduate from college. New ways of thinking when it comes to residential real estate could be the keys to retaining talent and helping Boston to remain a competitive city. Any city that is willing to think outside the box and try experimental living options today will stand to benefit from the growth and talent that decision will bring for decades to come. Attracting millennials to Boston by offering a living situation that is social, convenient and affordable is likely to be a winning strategy. All eyes will be on the Boston Planning and Development Agency as developers and residents await a decision regarding the feasibility of a new co-living option in the South End's Ink Block.

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