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Starcity Plans Massive New Bay Area Co-Living Projects

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San Francisco-based co-living company Starcity plans to add more than 1,000 units in San Francisco and San Jose through two ground-up developments.

Starcity Plans Massive New Bay Area Co-Living Projects
Starcity residents in San Francisco

Starcity started in San Francisco in 2016 and has since opened four co-living locations with 52 units in the area — and a hefty waiting list. The company most recently expanded into Los Angeles' Venice Beach area, marking the first co-living project to open there.

The new planned "vertical neighborhoods" will be Minna, a 270-unit building in San Francisco's SoMa at 475 Minna, and Bassett, a 750- to 790-unit building at 199 Bassett in downtown San Jose.

"Both projects will bring to fruition a concept we've been working on since we founded Starcity — vertical neighborhoods. Our goal is to make urban living accessible to all, and by developing large co-living projects like Minna and Bassett, we're able to create neighborhoods within each development, fostering community in high-density urban areas," Starcity co-founder and CEO Jon Dishotsky said in a statement. "Both projects will accommodate not just single people, but couples, families and even multi-generational families, helping Starcity serve a more diverse group of people who want to remain in urban centers."

The San Jose building will be not far from Diridon Station and the planned Google transit village, adding yet another development to the booming area. Starcity claims Bassett will be the largest co-living development in the world.

As co-living has caught on, some projects have pushed larger.

The Collective's 546-bed co-living property in West London, considered the largest in the world, just sold for £125M. The Collective is planning a 350K SF New York City flagship co-living location at 555 Broadway with more than 500 units.

WeWork's WeLive co-living concept, with locations already in New York City and Arlington, Virginia, is adding a 36-story mixed-use development in Seattle, which will be its largest and its first on the West Coast.

Starcity started its business by converting underutilized multifamily, office and hotel properties into co-living spaces. The Venice building in LA, developed in a JV with Worthe Real Estate Group, was formerly corporate housing.

For Minna in SoMa, Starcity plans to use SB 35, which expedites the approval process for projects that meet certain criteria, including providing affordable housing. Half of Minna's units will be affordable housing.

Rents for Bassett should be around 80% of area median income.

Such solutions can help cities such as San Francisco and San Jose retain their middle-class families and workforce, said state Sen. Scott Wiener, who authored SB 35.

Demand, driven by the high cost of living and limited housing options in the area, has also brought investor interest. Starcity had raised more than $20M in venture financing as of June.