As the co-living trend continues to pique the interest of millennial city dwellers, one startup is capitalizing on the growing market here in Chicago.
New York-based startup Common, which creates and operates co-living spaces, is opening its second home in Lakeview East. The home, called Common Briar, is leasing out 14 bedrooms, with rents beginning at $1,400 per month, said Bridgette Farrer, Common’s West Coast general manager and head of public affairs.
The startup opened its first Chicago home, Common Damen, over the summer in West Town, near the intersection of Chicago and Damen Avenues. Rent for a room in the 12-bedroom building starts at $1,325, and it’s currently at capacity.
“We’ve seen incredible demand for co-living in Chicago,” Farrer said. “We’re seeing this demand for housing that is convenient, affordable and really community-centered. That’s a theme we see across all of our markets.”
Common Briar will be modeled similarly to Common Damen, Farrer said. Here’s how the homes work: Tenants pay a flat rent fee for a fully furnished bedroom and shared living spaces that include all utilities and amenities. They have access to shared supplies, on-site laundry and weekly cleanings. Additionally, they enjoy perks beyond usual apartment amenities, including a community manager who plans events to help keep tenants connected. Leases range from three to 12 months.
Common is taking tenant applications now for Common Briar, and expects people to move in Feb. 1, Farrer said. Applications require a financial and background check, and if applicants are chosen, they will complete a short phone interview before joining a home.
The startup has plans to open a third home in Chicago, though Farrer would not disclose where it would be or when it would open.
The co-living trend first began in the Bay Area, but has since expanded nationwide as city rents continue to rise. Co-working company WeWork has even dabbled in the niche industry, launching WeLive, which manages co-living apartments in New York and Washington, D.C.
Farrer said Common chose Lakeview East for the second Chicago home because the area is transit-connected, has a blossoming retail presence, and plenty of restaurants and bars. Common Briar has spacious living rooms, kitchens and sunrooms. Additionally, there’s outdoor and work spaces.
Common opened its first home in Brooklyn, New York, in 2015, and now operates more than 14 homes across five cities, including New York, San Francisco, Oakland, Calif,. Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The startup has more than $63 million in funding from investors like Los Angeles-based Inevitable Ventures and Palo Alto, Calif.-based Norwest Venture Partners, according to Crunchbase.
Across all their markets, Common receives more than 1,000 applications every week, and there is a 70 percent renewal rate on 12-month leases, Farrer said.
“That speaks volumes about the experience that people are having living at Common,” she said. “It is a really great solution for someone that might be new to the city. It’s a community where people are looking to get to know one another.”