The Largest Co-Living Development in the World Is Heading for Silicon Valley
The world’s largest co-living project is headed straight for the nation’s most expensive housing market: Silicon Valley. In other words, a giant dormitory aimed at well-off millennials (and some older professionals) interested in Bob Ross painting nights and learning how to brew kombucha is about to go up in tech central.
Communal housing provider Starcity recently received the green light from local officials in San Jose, CA, to put up an 18-story building with 803 units in downtown. Each pint-size, furnished unit is roughly a 220-square-foot private bedroom with its own bathroom. Residents share kitchens, living areas, and dining rooms, all for $1,800 to $2,400 a month.
“There’s low-income housing and Section 8, and then there’s luxury high-rises. And there’s nothing in between in urban centers with high job growth,” says Starcity CEO and co-founder Jon Dishotsky. “The one missing piece is affordable-by-design housing for rent.”
Now, paying upward of $2,000 a month for a tiny room may not exactly sound affordable, but it’s right in line with the median price of a one-bedroom rental in San Jose at $2,120 as of June 1, according to rental site Apartment List. And Starcity touts that what the rooms lack in space, the building makes up for in amenities.
Utilities, Wi-Fi, cleaning services, essentials like toilet paper and paper towels, and community events are included—which can save residents some serious dough. Each residential floor of the building will include co-working spaces, media rooms, chef’s kitchens, and dining areas. Plus, there will be a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, bike share and repair facilities, and a roof terrace.
The goal is to create a community for renters while adding to the city’s much-needed housing stock. And Silicon Valley needs more housing as more tech companies ramp up hiring and lure new workers. The utter dearth of it is why prices have soared so high.
To get approval for the unique project, the city created a new zoning category for co-living. The development was approved on May 31.
“Anything that adds individual housing units—of whatever scale—is bound to help” the area’s housing shortage, says Patrick Carlisle, chief marketing analyst for the San Francisco Bay Area for Compass.
But co-living may not be a long-term solution. While Starcity says the median age of its residents is in the 30s and families are welcome in its buildings, it may not be for everyone who has put their college days long behind them. (Families can rent out Jack-and-Jill units, which are two separate rooms connected by a private bathroom.)
And with median home list prices in San Jose at an astronomical $999,000, there’s not many places for folks to go once they age out of co-living.
“These co-living spaces are filling a great need for millennial, high-tech workers,” says Carlisle. But “typically, as people get older, they get married or they get into committed relationships. They perhaps have families. They have a tendency to be a little less interested in youth-oriented social events. They want their own kitchens.”