Ana Martínez (Urban Campus): “We plan to open 30 residential spaces in the next 5 years, 10 of them in Spain”.
Ana Martinez is Chief Operating Officer at Urban Campus, a Paris-based company focused on the acquisition and management of residential and office buildings (coliving and coworking) whose portfolio of real estate assets includes five buildings in Spain and two in France.
Urban Campus is the first operator of complete coliving buildings in Spain. As precursors of this model, how do you think this format is received by a society like the Spanish one?
The residential market (both in Spain and in other countries) required a solution that adapted to the current needs of the population. This led us to launch our coliving model in the market. In other European countries as well as in the United States, coliving is more than established, and at first in Spain, it was understood as a solution aimed at students and short-term rentals. However, throughout the years that we have been working in this market, we are already managing to reverse this perception. This residential model has been very well received and the truth is that the waiting list to move into our spaces is expanding. At first, the most common profile was the foreign professional, but today there are more and more local residents who, for different reasons, are opting for coliving.
Who would you say is your target audience?
The typical tenant of Urban Campus coliving buildings is the young professional between 25 and 45 years old (the average age of our residents is 33 years old). They are mainly international (although the percentage of nationals has increased since the pandemic), with 40% of our tenants being nationals and 60% foreigners.
Approximately 95% of our tenants say they would recommend this residential option. In turn, 86% of our residents have told us that they feel happier and less lonely than before having lived in the coliving.
6 buildings in total, three in operation and three in progress. Will you continue to invest in new assets in 2023?
Without a doubt. Our goal is to have more than 30 buildings in the next few years. In Spain, we have our sights set on Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, and Malaga, as well as other smaller cities. Internationally, we want to expand into France and Portugal. In the coming years, we will have openings for both coliving and multifamily or build-to-rent projects.
With the new building in Valencia, Urban Campus opens up the build-to-rent market in Spain. Do you think you will follow this line?
The Valencia coliving is a new building that will be destined for coliving, which is part of the build-to-rent market, in its most alternative sector. However, our first entry into the traditional build-to-rent or multifamily segment was a building in the French city of Saint Louis. Together with Nexity and Swiss Life Asset Managers, we opened a new line of business for the management of build-to-rent buildings. So, yes, we are also committed to this rental model in which we will continue to make progress, both in Spain and abroad.
So far, five in Madrid and one in Valencia… What is Urban Campus looking for in the areas where it is developing its business model? What other Spanish cities would be on your radar?
Urban Campus seeks to offer a medium-term residential solution for those who want to live in rented accommodation in central (or emerging) areas of large cities that are well connected. In addition to a good location, they are looking to belong to a community of people with similar interests with whom they can participate in events and activities. Many of them want independence and to live in their private space, but they perceive the option of sharing common areas as a huge added value, this then allows them to create links and meet people from other environments or cultures, let’s not forget that the human being is a social being and as such seeks the generation of social relationships.
Your company demystifies that coliving is only an option for the short term… What is the average rent you manage in your colivings?
Our average stay is 12 months, and more than 47% extend it. We have tenants who have been residing in our spaces for more than 3 years, since our opening, so we expect the average stay to continue to grow.
In Urban Campus we offer rental agreements from 700 € to 1700 € approximately, depending on the area in which the building is located and the type of private space, for example, in the Malasaña coliving in Madrid the average price is 1.300 €/month, and in Chamberí it is around 850 €/month. In addition, we offer an all-inclusive service, which includes expenses and events, but also various additional services such as cleaning, English classes or sports activities.
In addition to coliving, one of the Urban Campus properties is for coworking. Will the firm continue to promote this line of business in Spain or would you prefer to continue developing the coliving area?
The core of our business is coliving, meaning at the moment we will be putting more weight on developing this type of project. However, the interesting thing is that both products have very similar targets, so we study each project individually and decide the use that best suits each asset.
What are Urban Campus’ objectives for the coming years?
We plan to open 30 residential spaces in the next 5 years, 10 of them in Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Alicante, Seville, Murcia, Palma de Mallorca, Bilbao, etc.) and 20 in the main European cities. These openings will be carried out through the refurbishment of buildings, as well as through the development of new construction projects, depending on the availability of land in each city and the location we choose for each of them.
Do you have plans for international expansion, and what dates and countries are planned?
We have already planned different coliving spaces in other countries such as France for the end of this year. At the moment we can not advance more information, but rest assured that we will continue to open many more buildings under the Urban Campus brand.