Co-Living Company Heads To Oakland With New Location
For Common founder and CEO Brad Hargreaves, co-living is not just about saving money on rent. It is about creating a better sense of community.
At Common’s newest co-living property in Oakland, Common MacArthur, residents can move into fully furnished apartments, easily meet other people and participate in community-led events without the headaches often accompanying moving into a high-priced Bay Area apartment.
“Residents come for the convenience and stay for the community,” Hargreaves said.
Co-living is becoming an increasingly popular alternative for people seeking more affordable housing without the burden of the roommate lottery. Companies like Common, WeLive and Ollie are expanding into new locations throughout the country as demand grows for this housing alternative. HubHaus, which was founded in 2016, also is expanding throughout the Bay Area. This co-living company offers over 40 multimillion-dollar homes in the Bay Area where members can live. Forge Land Co. also recently broke ground on co-living workforce housing in San Francisco.
About 20% of all households in big urban centers are shared, according to Hargreaves.
“In the Bay Area and New York that is the reality of the housing stock,” Hargreaves said. “A lot of people live with roommates.”
When people move to a new city, they often do not have furniture and use Craigslist or a roommate’s existing furniture. Multifamily housing often is not designed for roommates, who have to split up the unit as best they can, Hargreaves said.
Co-living also is not just a housing solution for young techy millennials. Common’s residents range from people in their 20s to people in their 60s with the peak demographic being people in their early 30s, according to Hargreaves.
“We didn’t invent living with roommates,” Common General Manager, West Coast Bridgette Farrer said. “We are creating a better shared-living experience.”
Common originally came to the Bay Area after one of its members got a job in San Francisco. The co-living company typically looks at where current members want to move when it considers a new location. The need for affordable housing solutions in the Bay Area became apparent quickly.
“Due to rising rents in the Bay Area, finding housing that is affordable is not an easy feat,” Hargreaves said.
Common expanded into Oakland following the success of its two locations in San Francisco, which total 24 beds. The company has received over 2,600 applications for its San Francisco locations since opening in summer 2016. The Oakland location is expected to open in August, adding 45 bedrooms to the company’s portfolio. The new East Bay Common location was ideal because it is close to transit, retail and bars, Farrer said.
Common MacArthur, in the Hoover-Foster neighborhood of West Oakland, was developed by Riaz Capital, an Oakland-based owner and operator of multifamily properties specializing in entry-level housing. Common will lease and manage the three-story building.
The 11,520 SF building offers 12 shared suites with a mix of private and shared bathrooms. There are four bedrooms with two baths and three three-bedroom units with one shared bath and one private bath. Individual occupancy begins at $1,425 for a 12-month lease.
Suites include furnished living rooms with sofas from Article and dinnerware from Crate & Barrel. Each room includes a bed, mattress by Bear and Casper, linens by Parachute and Snowe towels and bath mats. A professional cleaner will clean shared spaces weekly. Common also provides toilet paper, paper towels and common kitchen utensils and appliances.
The three-story building offers an outdoor community space including bistro table sets, a custom redwood picnic table, a porch swing and hammock chairs, a Weber grill and outdoor Sonos speakers and a TV.
Common will review applications submitted online, and residents are screened and interviewed before joining. Farrer said Common looks for people who want to live with others and want to engage with a community.
Membership also includes community-led events, shared supplies and all-inclusive utilities like WiFi, heating and air and on-site laundry. Members can move between different homes within Common’s network if space is available without breaking the terms of their lease, according to Hargreaves.
With Common MacArthur, Common now has 359 rooms in New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Hundreds more rooms and new cities are slated to open over the next few years.
CORRECTION, JULY 26, 11:25 A.M. PT: A previous version of this story misspelled Common MacArthur. The story has been updated.