Ditto Residential Prepares To Deliver Oslo Atlas, A Co-Living Building With 5-Bedroom Units
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Martin Ditto sees a transformational shift happening in the residential space.
Young professionals who typically rent studios or live in group houses to pay lower rents, Ditto said, are being drawn to co-living spaces where they have a private bedroom and bathroom, but share a large common area with several roommates.
"I think communal living for lots of different age and socioeconomic groups will be a big change for multiple reasons," Ditto told Bisnow. "Not least of which is the personal desire to be around other people, but also just the economics of shared space and shared living."
Ditto's boutique development firm, Ditto Residential, has traditionally built for-sale condo buildings, but it tested out this concept with the nine-unit OSLOshaw in 2014. The units, all three- and four-bedrooms with private bathrooms, have extra-large common areas and are designed for young people who enjoy student housing-style communal living arrangements.
After this project's success, Ditto got to work on the second iteration of the concept, OSLOatlas, which will deliver on Feb. 1. Like the Shaw project, this one sits in a hot neighborhood for young renters, just two blocks from H Street NE on the 1200 block of Florida Avenue.
"We still think the concept would work in places that are not as in demand," Ditto said. "But it's nice to build your first two in super-hot neighborhoods because you know you’ll be successful and you can learn from your mistakes."
Oslo Atlas takes Ditto's co-living brand up a notch, with each of its eight units containing five bedrooms. The 1,800 SF units put a greater focus on the common areas, like the one pictured above with spacious kitchens and living rooms of nearly 500 SF.
Learning from the first Oslo building, Ditto chose to install a full-size freezer in these units to provide enough space for five renters to store their food.
"It was important to promote the co-living elements of people having their own space, but having a really fantastic space outside of that to spend time in," Ditto said.
The bedrooms, each with large windows and private bathrooms, can be rented for $1,100 to $1,325 per month each, putting the total unit rates around $6k a month.
Since DC law requires each unit to have a single lease, Ditto is helping interested renters find each other and create groups to fill the units. Pre-leasing will begin once construction is complete at the end of January. With this type of apartment concept, Ditto said it is helpful for people to see the units before renting them to understand the unique living style.
Other co-living brands such as WeLive and Common are testing similar concepts in the DC area. Since there are so few co-living products on the market, Ditto said the companies are more friendly than competitive at this point, and he has spoken with some of them to share insights.
Just a block from that project, at the corner of Florida and Trinidad Avenue NE, Ditto's 45-unit Hendrix project will also deliver in the next few weeks.
This 37k SF building has traditional apartments with a range of unit sizes, from a 320 SF studio to a 1,025 SF three-bedroom. The building has a rooftop courtyard with a glass-encased clubroom that offers views of H Street and Capitol Hill.
Down on the 300 block of Florida Avenue near the NoMa/Gallaudet Metro station and Union Market, Ditto is planning a 56-unit apartment building with Zusin Development, rendered above. This project, with mostly three- and four-bedroom units, will be geared more toward families than groups of young college graduates. It is scheduled to break ground this summer.
"One of the focuses recently that we’ve been interested in is not just housing for young people," Ditto said, "but also young people that end up having families, or for older people who have families."
Ditto said he has plans for more Oslo projects. He owns one site just east of Dupont Circle that he is considering building another co-living project on and he hopes to expand across the DC area.