A large developer is disrupting the apartment rental brand experience by introducing upscale dorms for adults. Featuring smaller private living spaces with more shared amenities to foster interaction, engagement, and friendships with your neighbors. Will co-living take off like shared office space? Let’s dive in!
I’ve noticed a big shift among my colleagues, friends, and peers as far as where they choose to live. When I made the jump from Honolulu to Chicago, it was a pretty big change. Going from driving a BMW through Waikiki to walking everywhere and learning to navigate a bustling city with constantly changing weather took some getting use to.
At first, living in the city felt sort of like a sacrifice. Attaching myself to the BMW, it felt as though I had to give up something big. But over time, that feeling has flipped 180 degrees to where I am nearly ecstatic that I gave up my car in lieu of the big city life.
We’ve also made other sacrifices in terms of living space. While we are close to Lake Michigan, Grant Park, the Bean, and the Theatre District, we chose to buy a smaller condo for now. For us, living in the city means taking advantage of all it has to offer through networking events, theatre, restaurants, happy hours, and spending time at the park.
How Living Small Has Become Big
There are several products on the market that speak to people looking to live in small places so that they can spend their time traveling, exploring their city, or working more. It’s become a trend that has taken the U.S. by storm with a tiny house movement, micro-apartments, and the idea that small is the new black.
Large Developer Enters the Tiny House Market
Property Markets Group (PMG) is entering the co-living market, offering smaller private spaces and prioritizing common areas built to foster interaction. Competitors already in this space include WeLive, Ollie, Common, and others.
But PMG isn’t using a me-too strategy. They are going bigger. PMG has 3,500 units planned in the next five years, built and operated by a new division of the company called PMGx.
This is where things really get exciting – and how PMG is intentionally developing a BrandedWorld around their new offering, delivering a brand experience the market has not yet seen.
It was really the company trying to pull back and look at all of the societal macro trends and saying, if we take out everything that is sort of institutionally known about creating a rental building, what’s the product that makes sense for young professionals?
People are more transient, they have a lot of debt, people are moving to cities and want to own less…there’s a shift in values toward experience over ownership.
PMGx’s First Building is Located in Chicago’s Logan Square Neighborhood
The company’s first building with this concept has 120 units and options to rent a single bedroom and bath in a larger three or four bedroom unit with fully furnished common space and kitchen, or a micro-studio. Following the first Chicago building, plans include a 464-unit building in Miami in 2018, along with another building in Chicago. Later on, the company has plans in the works for Brooklyn, Denver, and other markets.
What Makes PMGx’s Approach Unique?
As a large developer with a 25-year track record, the company has access to resources to build from scratch a building that will best function as an interactive co-living space instead of one that has been reverse-engineered to fit a concept.
One of the strategies that set PMGx apart from other social living concepts is control over every aspect of the designed experience. From the building layout, materials amenities, to the carefully designed common areas that foster interaction, to an app that instantly connects the resident to features such as letting guests in, getting packages from a package locker, pay rent, or make maintenance requests.
While traditional condominium towers are fragmented into separate associations and third-party property management companies, PMGx aims to eliminate the fragmented experience and turn it into a seamless experience with on-site staff participating in events like potlucks and movie screenings.
Because the company has chosen to intentionally design and control the entire experience, they are able to focus on maximizing each detail of the space for socializing.
We designed furniture in a way that sort of forces people to interact. We tend to avoid things like armrests and physical barriers as much as we can so that we can get people to actually sit next to each other.
– Brian Koles, Director of Brand and Tenant Experiences
In essence, PMGx has developed an immersive BrandedWorld around their social apartment community concept. The brand experience is fully immersive, both physically and digitally through the website and mobile app. As these communities get built out around the country, I can envision further immersing tenants and allowing them to experience the social apartment communities in other parts of the country, and eventually the world.
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Are you on board with the luxury social apartment concept? Would you be willing to give up private space in order to gain amenities and a well-crafted social experience? Leave a comment below or connect with me on social.