No To Crash Pads, Yes To Studios: UK Co-Living's Format Reboot
The UK co-living sector is about to reboot.
Now a Birmingham developer — and a potential new arrival from the U.S. — could provide the turn-it-off-and-turn-it-on-again moment that fixes the glitches. A rethink on room sizes could be the trigger.
The scheme is the first serious test of Birmingham’s approach to co-living. It follows a cool reaction from planners in Manchester.
Chief Executive Tani Dulay said planners may have been too influenced by first-generation co-living schemes, many of them conversions rather than purpose-built. The result has been smaller rooms.
Rather than studio rooms that rarely breach 15 square metres, Woodbourne is proposing studios rising above 20 square metres, with some units 25-35 square metres.
The idea is that instead of crash pads, co-living rooms become genuine if small-scale homes.
“This is more about homes, about places where people can truly live with comfort and without compromise. This is about appealing to a demographic that hasn’t been catered to in Birmingham — those who would like to live in the city centre but can’t afford to,” Dulay said.
“We’re been taking the city council on a journey, because I think some local councils have had their views of co-living tainted, and rightfully so, by early London schemes which were effectively converted student housing with very small rooms.
"Co-living at Curzon Wharf is completely different; our units are significantly larger and the amenity space on offer is also greater than any other residential scheme in the city, including build-to-rent.”
Woodbourne’s application for Curzon Wharf is expected to come before Birmingham City Council planners later this autumn.
The move comes amidst reports that U.S. co-living operator Common is poised to make its UK debut. Common is expected to opt for several London bases, Property Week reported, but is known to be keen to make a speedy entrance into the UK regional markets.