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NYC Funding Co-Living Projects With Common, PadSplit

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Common founder and CEO Brad Hargreaves
Common founder and CEO Brad Hargreaves

New York City is banking on co-living as part of the answer to its crushing housing affordability issue. Literally.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation has chosen three "shared housing" proposals following a city-run competition calling on developers to put forward ideas.

In one project, L+M Development Partners and co-living company Common plan to co-develop 253 units, with 56 shared apartments in East Harlem.

Ascendant Neighborhood Development and Ali Forney Center put forward an idea to build a 10-story building with four duplex shared units and one simplex shared unit, which is also slated for East Harlem. Cypress Hills Local Development Corp. and PadSplit have a plan to turn a single-room occupancy building in East New York into 11 new housing opportunities.

HPD announced last November that it was kicking off ShareNYC, a pilot program that would open up public financing to developers who created co-living offerings.

Common said in a release that its East Harlem project “speaks to the core of Common’s mission” and that it was “looking forward to working with the HPD to provide an innovative solution to the city’s housing crisis.”

The planned building, dubbed Common Roosevelt, will feature weekly cleaning, a library, and the shared units will be mixed in with the market-rate offerings.

The city’s housing affordability problem is now at a crisis point, and many developers say the cost of building has stymied development of badly needed units. Plus, many communities rail against new development in their areas, even when the goal is to create more affordable housing for locals.

Common CEO Brad Hargreaves has long maintained that co-living can be part of the answer to the city's affordability problems. He said during an interview for Bisnow’s Let's Have A Drink podcast series that demographics in places like New York City have changed significantly in the last few decades, and vast numbers of people live alone.

“You don't see a lot of developers [who are] studying housing and household typologies in their market,” he said. “And I think that's a shame. They're designing the same things that they've been designing, frankly, for the last 50 years.”

CORRECTION, OCT. 21, 9:50 P.M. ET: Cypress Hills Local Development Corp. and PadSplit are planning to turn a single-room occupancy building in East New York into new housing opportunities. An earlier version of this story misidentified the name of the company. This story has been updated