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Invesco Partners With Common To Help Fill Large Apartments

The living room and kitchen in a three-bedroom duplex unit at the Common Bowman in D.C.

Invesco and L+M Development Partners are teaming up with a co-living company to lease up five-bedroom apartments in one of its East Harlem buildings.

Amid a tumultuous rental market in Manhattan, Common will take up 21 apartments totaling 105 bedrooms in the development team's building at 1660 Madison Ave. — which will be dubbed Common Heritage, a spokesperson for Common confirmed to Bisnow

"[The partnership] solves the problem of, ‘What do I do with these weird five-bedroom units,'” Common Senior Director of Real Estate Brian Lee said. “If you’re going to lease that on its own, it’s a pretty thin market and essentially you need to find a family to rent that to, whereas if you rent it out by the bedroom, generally you’re going to get a much higher rent-per-square-foot.” 

Lee and Invesco Real Estate Senior Director of Asset Management Lesley Lisser announced the plan on a panel about technology during a Bisnow's multifamily Digital Summit Thursday.

This is Common's second partnership with L+M and its first with Invesco. Last October, Common was selected by the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development to manage affordable co-living units in the city. They partnered with L+M at The Common Roosevelt, also in East Harlem, a result. 

Invesco’s East Harlem partnership with Common is the first step in a national partnership, Lisser said. A Common spokesperson said after the digital summit that no formal partnership deal had been struck outside of Common Heritage.

"Invesco has an impressive national portfolio and an incredible team that Common is actively working to expand with," the spokesperson wrote in an email. "We're really excited about the building and where our residential management relationship may go!"

The alliance comes as the aftershock of the coronavirus pandemic’s worst days in New York continues to ravage the Manhattan residential rental market. Vacancies are increasing and rents are plummeting.

At the start of the shutdown, Common and other co-living companies expected a drop-off in business amid the pandemic, but a stable future after it. Common has more than 50 buildings across nine cities, including more than a dozen in New York, where it is based.

In April, 1% of tenants in Common-managed apartments had asked to break their leases and 2% requested rent payment plans. The company saw a 30 percentage point decline in the number of people who viewed a space in relation to those who ended up renting. 

“Co-living broadly falls in line with [traditional multifamily] market standards,” Lee said. “So during the thick of COVID, we got hit pretty hard in terms of occupancy in New York, whereas other cities were performing well, and that has kind of flipped now. New York has definitely been improving.” 

Lee said he understood the nature of their model — living with strangers as roommates — is uncomfortable for people amid the pandemic. The company has increased its cleaning measures, held community events via Zoom and decreased the amount of shared goods to mitigate exposure. 

“I think that will help keep occupancy and renewals up,” he said.

Related Topics: Common, L+M Development Partners