‘Co-liv­ing’ now part of the shared econ­omy.

YOU’LL SHARE THIS APART­MENT WITH A STRANGER — BUT DON’T DARE CALL IT A DORM.

San Antonio Express-News - - FRONT PAGE - By Roger Vin­cent

The first step into a posh new apart­ment build­ing near Los An­ge­les’ Ma­rina del Rey feels like a mis­take. There’s no lobby — in­stead the door opens to a lounge and kitchen.

The idea is to en­cour­age min­gling, which is part of the ap­peal of a build­ing where ten­ants have their own bed­rooms but share com­mon ar­eas with peo­ple they don’t know.

But this is not your typ­i­cal room­mate sit­u­a­tion. The bed­rooms are spa­cious, the liv­ing rooms are fur­nished — and the res­i­dents are of­ten se­lected by the land­lord.

Wel­come to “co-liv­ing” in a time of sky-high rents.

The shared econ­omy has trans­formed how we get around, how we travel, who sits next to us at the of­fice and, now, with whom we share our pri­vate spa­ces.

Real es­tate de­vel­op­ers such as Cal­i­for­nia Land­mark Group are pioneer­ing a new way of liv­ing by pri­mar­ily cater­ing to young pro­fes­sion­als and cre­ative types who en­joy lux­ury digs but can’t swing the rent in de­sir­able neigh­bor­hoods such as the Ma­rina.

And while stretch­ing out on a sofa with a stranger may strike many as un­usual, it is not much of a leap to peo­ple al­ready com­fort­able with Uber and Airbnb, said Ken Ka­han, founder of the Los An­ge­les-based de­vel­op­ment com­pany.

“Peo­ple get in other peo­ple’s cars and sleep in other peo­ple’s beds,” he said. “This is a nat­u­ral ex­pan­sion of the hous­ing mar­ket in the shared econ­omy.”

Co-liv­ing has the ben­e­fit of of­fer­ing renters in search of so­cial con­nec­tion the chance to bond with new ac­quain­tances in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions, but its fun­da­men­tal ap­peal may be eco­nomic.

Typ­i­cally, a co-liv­ing renter has a pri­vate bed­room and can spring for a pri­vate bath­room but shares the kitchen, liv­ing room and other com­mu­nal spa­ces. Units are fur­nished — some­times at an In- sta­gram-wor­thy level — and the rent usu­ally in­cludes ser­vices that aren’t cov­ered in other apart­ments, such as util­i­ties and Wi-Fi.

C1 even of­fers Net­flix and maid ser­vices to head off squab­bles over whose turn it is to vacuum the floor and scrub the sink.

Co-liv­ing com­plexes have grown fairly com­mon in European cities such as Ber­lin, Lon­don and Dublin, Ka­han said, and are now spring­ing up in New York, Seat­tle, San Fran­cisco, Los An­ge­les and other Amer­i­can ur­ban ar­eas. Even in rel­a­tively cheaper hous­ing ar­eas like Hous­ton, co-liv­ing and co-hous­ing in­ter­est in de­vel­op­ing these com­mu­ni­ties is grow­ing, with many — es­pe­cially re­tirees and mil­len­ni­als — look­ing to save some cash by liv­ing to­gether.

They come in dif­fer­ent it­er­a­tions. Some com­pa­nies con­tract with land­lords to re­fit en­tire build­ings or carve up in­di­vid­ual units so that a two-bed­room might fit ad­di­tional ten­ants who squeeze into bunk beds or live in a par­ti­tioned liv­ing room.

De­vel­op­ers such as Ka­han are tak­ing the next step: build­ing from the ground up and fore­see­ing a time when co-liv­ing is a new prop­erty cat­e­gory, like as­sist­ing liv­ing com­plexes de­signed to serve the grow­ing num­bers of wealthy se­niors.

A port­fo­lio of build­ings in an es­tab­lished prop­erty class can get funded by banks, pur­chased by pen­sion funds and even se­cur- itized in real es­tate in­vest­ment trusts.

For now, though, co-liv­ing is still in its in­fancy and is con­sid­ered some­what ex­per­i­men­tal. But if the small de­vel­op­ments emerg­ing in trendy hous­ing mar­kets like Ma­rina del Rey, Venice and Echo Park suc­ceed, more will prob­a­bly fol­low.

An­other co-liv­ing hous­ing de­vel­oper, Anil Khera, sees a link be­tween co-liv­ing and the up­mar­ket stu­dent hous­ing com­plexes that have sprung up around cam­puses in re­cent years. Those have formed an es­tab­lished new prop­erty cat­e­gory that is a leap be­yond the spar­tan dor­mi­to­ries and cracker-box apart­ments of col­lege stu­dents a gen­er­a­tion ago.

Com­plexes near the Univer­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia and Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Irvine, for in­stance, of­fer such lux­u­ries as 24-hour fit­ness cen­ters, tan­ning booths, bil­liards, bar­be­cues and re­sort-style pools with ca­banas. Fur­nished units come with gran­ite coun­ter­tops, big-screen HD tele­vi­sion sets and ice mak­ers.

“You have mil­len­ni­als who have grown up in pretty fancy pur­pose­built apart­ments,” Khera said, and are un­ac­cus­tomed to “slum­ming it” in old, un­fur­nished units once out of school.

Co-liv­ing, he said, is the next step for grad­u­ates fac­ing steep rents in de­sir­able ur­ban neigh­bor­hoods. The me­dian rent for a va­cant apart­ment in Los An­ge­les, San Diego and San Fran­cisco is one-third higher than it was in 2012. In Novem­ber it hit $2,554 in Los An­ge­les, ac­cord­ing to Zil­low.

Khera, a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive at global pri­vate equity real es­tate firm Black­stone, in 2016 founded a co-liv­ing com­pany called Node as it be­came ap­par­ent that mil­len­ni­als val­ued travel, mem­o­rable events and friend­ships over pos­ses­sions.

“The as­pi­ra­tion for the new gen­er­a­tion grow­ing up glob­ally con­nected on In­sta­gram is about ex­pe­ri­ences and con­nec­tions,” he said. “That’s the stuff that’s cool.”

Pro­mo­tional ma­te­ri­als for Node’s new Echo Park out­post boast that its two 1920s-vin­tage bun­ga­low court com­plexes are

Gary Coron­ado / Los An­ge­les Times

The C1 apart­ment com­plex by Cal­i­for­nia Land­mark Group in Ma­rina del Rey, Calif., is among the new ground-up de­vel­op­ments that in­clude co-liv­ing units.

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