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Typical rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Atlanta is $1,044, according to online rent tracker Apartment List. That does not include utilities.
To further address affordability, 15% of the units will be allocated for residents who make less than 80% of the area median income. The median household income of the area is $43,690, according to the U.S. Census.
“It’s targeting someone looking for that low price point but wants something new,” Common CEO Brad Hargreaves said.
Domos founder Derrick Barker said 90% of the development in Atlanta has been focused on the top 10% of the city’s earners. “We’re focused on people who are in the dead middle,” he said. Residents making between $35,000 and $50,000 are the ideal target demographic for the Chosewood Park units, a spokesman familiar with the development said.
Co-living spaces first popped up five years ago in New York City as a way to encourage residents to build a community and interact with each other. Hargreaves said part of that is making sure residents have great roommate experiences. Part of Common’s job is removing annoyances that lead to poor roommate experiences. The company manages 30 co-living spaces in six cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington D.C.
“What we’re doing is removing the annoyances that we can control,” Hargreaves said. That includes providing a cleaning service, re-stocking toilet tissue and splitting the bills for residents. “We don’t do that to pamper them, but because that’s a source of dispute: who’s going to buy the toilet paper this week, and splitting the bill.”
The co-living space is also intended to be a happy medium for young adults looking for affordable but newer and luxury amenities.
“This seemed like a sensible way to serve the population and to build a community that promotes everyone in the neighborhood instead of displacing them,” Barker said.
Georgia State University urban studies professor Dan Immergluck said while co-living is a niche market that people are interested in, it won’t solve Atlanta’s affordable housing crisis.
“I don’t think it provides the kind of stability that a lot of people need,” he said. “I think it’s good for people that aren’t planning on renting for a while.” Immergluck studies housing, real estate and neighborhood change in Atlanta.
To aid in affordability, Immergluck said housing shortages for lower-income residents need to be addressed. Right now, the market caters to those who are already middle income and a $1,000- bedroom unit isn’t affordable for single-family residents making $25,000 a year or even a family of four living on an annual income of $40,000, he said.
Affordable rent for lower-income residents would have to be under $800 for one-bedroom apartments, Immergluck said. Rent priced at $500 per month would be ideal.
“For middle-income people moving to the city, starting out at $60,000 a year and who want to have roommates, it seems like a reasonable alternative,” he said. “For folks making $20,000 a year, that’s too expensive. They’re going to spend well over 30% of their income on rent.”
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WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT CO-LIVING
- Co-living spaces first emerged in 2014 in New York City as a response to rising housing costs.
- Some units are designed so that residents have a private bathroom but share common space such as the kitchen area.
- Utilities and maid services are often included in the rent price.
- The Chosewood Park development will be near the Grant Park area and is expected to open in 2021.