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New Co-Living Concept To Debut In Houston’s Montrose, And Its Developers Have National Ambitions

Amid climbing rents that have priced young professionals out of vibrant urban environments, a residential development subsidiary of Dallas-based Civitas Capital Group is set to break ground on a co-living project that matches renters with roommates and offers amenities from gaming lounges to yoga studios in a sought-after locale: Houston’s hip Montrose neighborhood.


The Shelter Cos. is the developer behind Uniti, a 238-unit development set to go up at 701 Richmond Ave., the Houston Business Journal reported. The nine-story, 199K SF project will be the first of a number of such projects aimed at bridging the gap between stretched incomes and rising rents, per The Shelter Cos. website, which lists dozens of target markets across the country, from the Sacramento, California, metro in the West to Miami; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Washington, D.C., on the East Coast.

The company is targeting renters paying more than 30% of gross income in rent, a demographic that includes 37.5% of income-earning households, mostly making between $40K and $100K annually.

While the Houston project will have 238 units, it will offer 381 leasable bedrooms. Shelter Cos. will help line up roommates for the bedrooms, which will be configured in three or four-bedroom units with shared kitchen and laundry areas.

“It saves them the hassle of having to find a roommate, and each resident signs their own contract, so they are not on the hook for anyone else’s rent,” Shelter Cos. Managing Partner and co-founder Mark Drumm told the HBJ. “We believe there is a market for renters who just got out of college and are used to living with roommates.”

Uniti Montrose will also offer some micro-units of between 320 SF and 420 SF that will be smaller and about 10% to 15% cheaper than traditional studio apartments, the HBJ reported. In addition to a gaming lounge offering esports, shared amenities will include a sky lounge with an outdoor patio and a fitness center, a pool with grills, two clubrooms and specialty communal space on each floor, such as a yoga room.

Drumm told the HBJ the idea was sparked by a tour of a co-living building in London four years ago. According to its website, the company hopes to take the concept national, but its primary target markets are all in Texas, including Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.

“'Co-living' can be a scary word to some people, but this just made sense to us,” Drumm told the HBJ. “Young people have been priced out of apartment living in so many areas because the rents just keep getting higher, especially in hot urban centers."

Co-living has been on shaky ground over the last few years. Though Common has thrived, companies like The Collective and Quarters have gone bankrupt as renters moved out of dense urban markets and sought more living space during the pandemic.