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Common Co-Living Entering Atlanta With Partnership In Chosewood Park

New York's biggest co-living player is making an entrance into the Atlanta market, where the niche housing type is still in its infancy.

Rendering for the Chosewood Park co-living project that will be developed by Domos and operated by Common

Common plans to operate a 345-bed co-living development in the Chosewood Park neighborhood in South Atlanta. The $50M project, along the southern portion of the Atlanta BeltLine, will be developed by Atlanta-based Domos.

Co-living is a relatively new subset of the multifamily market that targets renters making more moderate incomes, but who still want to live in the city. In many ways, it is the multifamily stepbrother to coworking — a collaborative environment married, though, to the intimacy of housing. Often compared to adult dorms, co-living units have private bedrooms and bathrooms, but a shared common area and kitchen. Most Common buildings also have a mix of private units.

Common pitches co-living as a piece of the answer to Atlanta's — and most U.S. cities' — growing affordability crisis. Apartments inside the Interstate 285 perimeter average more than $1,800/month, according to Haddow & Co. Rents at the project, which has yet to land a construction loan, are expected start at $1,040/month and include a fully furnished bedroom, a shared kitchen and biweekly house cleaning.

A chunk of the units will be reserved for renters making 80% of the area median income.

“We still look at affordability and we look at the price points we're serving,” Common CEO Brad Hargreaves said. "Even if there is a lot of inventory underway, is that inventory going to meet the needs of this audience? Most of it is not."

The Chosewood Park project is near the popular Grant Park neighborhood that is among the fastest-gentrifying in the city. For renters who are looking for apartments topping out at $1,400 per month, there is little available, Hargreaves said.

“If you're making $35K a year and your housing budget is $1,100 a month, there [are very few] studios available to be qualified for,” he said.

Common CEO Brad Hargreaves in 2019

Domos, which formed earlier this year as a partnership between Civitas Communities and Real Estate Asset Partners, has yet to open a co-living project, although it is working on a second development along Memorial Drive.

But over the past decade, Civitas has dipped quietly into the co-living landscape in Atlanta in small apartment complexes and houses converted into rental units, Domos principal Derrick Barker said. The customer base for co-living are people who were likely to live in a similar situation, such as renting out a room in a house or sharing an apartment with others, Barker said.

“There are people already living in this situation. This is just a better solution to a market that already exists,” Barker said. “We've never had a problem keeping units full. The demand has been pretty substantial.”

There are very few official co-living projects in Atlanta at this moment. One of the earliest in the market is The Guild, which operates two co-living facilities in Atlanta, one in the historic Sweet Auburn District and another at East Lake Commons.

Hargreaves said Common is eyeing many more units in Atlanta as part of its $300M national expansion that also includes Philadelphia, San Diego and Pittsburgh. In Atlanta, Common is targeting a near-term pipeline of up to 2,200 beds.

“We're certainly aiming into the thousands” of units in Atlanta, Hargreaves said.