This is what the first ‘coliving’ project looks like in Spain
Renting a room or studio with cleaning and maintenance included and access to common areas, gym, movie theaters, cafeteria or workspaces: ‘coliving’ takes off in Spain.
Coliving, a model that allows like-minded people to coexist within the same community, offering F&B, WIFI, cleaning or maintenance services, takes off in Spain and does so thanks to operators such as Urban Campus, DoveVivo, Habyt, Homiii, Starcity, The Student Hotel, and Inedit.
In between student residences, hotels, and rental apartments, coliving offers the possibility of renting a room, in most cases with a private bathroom and kitchen, but also the usage of the building’s common spaces. These common spaces are shared with other tenants with similar lifestyles and include work areas, a gym, a library, terraces, or even a laundry room. This formula was born in Silicon Valley, United States, and has already spread to several European cities such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, Manchester, Dublin, or Berlin. In Spain, it is still a very incipient phenomenon. According to JLL estimations, Madrid and Barcelona add up to more than 1,200 operational beds under the coliving model. Although focused on these large cities, operators are looking to other Spanish locations to expand their portfolios such as Seville, Valencia, San Sebastián, or Malaga. “We are already seeing a growing investment appetite for this type of asset in the market, which is inspired by elements of the hotel, multi-family sector or as a link between the student residence and the habitual family home, but with a more professional approach ”, Explains Juan Manuel Pardo, director of Coliving at JLL Spain.
Madrid and Barcelona now have more than 1,200 operational beds.
Urban Campus, Habyt, DoveVivo, Starcity, The Student Hotel, Inedit, and Homiii are some of the operators present in Spain.
Investors look for opportunities in this growing business.
One of the most active operators in our country has been the French companyUrban Campus. The group, founded by John van Oost and Maxime Armand, has five coliving and coworking spaces in Madrid and plans to open 30 residential spaces in the next five years, in the main European cities, ten of them in Spain. Specifically, they want to have more than 2,500 residential units in Spain by 2023.
The Italian group DoveVivo, for its part, landed in Spain last year after the purchase of Oh My Place! and now manages a coliving space on Calle San Lorenzo in Madrid with 44 rooms, although its objective is to continue growing in Spain.
Habyt, founded in Berlin in 2017, has spaces in Madrid and Barcelona, while The Student Hotel, with 16 centers in Europe, has two hotels in Barcelona for students and professionals in the education sector and plans to open in Madrid in autumn 2021 and in San Sebastián in 2022, in addition to the third center in Barcelona also next year. Homiii, the commercial brand of the Excem “Socimi”, buy flats in the best areas of the cities, renovate them and equip them with WiFi and Netflix in Madrid, while Inèdit has managed several centers in Barcelona for a decade.
Starcity, with presence in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley, which arrived in Spain through Barcelona Homes in 2020 and other operators such as Sun and Co in Jávea, The Hug, in Fuerteventura or Nine Coliving in Tenerife.
JLL foresees an expansion of the offer of beds in the upcoming years throughout the country of Spain and state that more and more international operators see an opportunity in the Spanish market due to its potential for travel.
“The current situation of coliving in Spain is marked by a regulatory complexity that makes it difficult for public administrations to qualify land use appropriately,” explains Pardo. In this sense, the lack of clear regulations in Spain makes it difficult to start new projects and clashes with the specific coliving regulations that the US has or the progress in the regulatory environment of cities such as London or Amsterdam. Coliving has adapted to the Covid, like other sectors, with the development of wellness programs, stricter cleaning protocols, and social distancing. According to JLL, in the current situation, coliving offers an opportunity for new revenue streams for the hotel sector, heavily penalized by Covid, given the similarity between the services and operations that both businesses have.
Urban Campus is one of the most important ‘coliving’ operators in Spain. The company manages two spaces in Malasaña and Mellado, in the center of Madrid, with a total of 120 beds. They include studios or apartments with an en-suite bathroom, which can be rented from one month on, and access to ‘coworking’ spaces, a gym, terraces with barbecues, relaxation areas, and movie theaters.
‘Coliving’ rises as an alternative to the classic rental, where more than a roof is shared
Marta L. is a freelance audiovisual editor. A few years ago she was offered a position to take part in an important television project. A great opportunity that, however, had one big handicap: it was mandatory to move to Madrid for three months to work from there. The challenge was worth it, but when looking for a temporary rental that wouldn’t cost her her full salary, with minimal conditions of habitability, the professional challenge was overshadowed by the logistical ordeal. After many stressful days she found a solution, but – looking back now she says – “it was not the best option and it was too expensive.”
This is just one example of the wide range of new accommodation needs that have arisen in the changing work environment and to which the traditional rental market does not always respond. Something that is especially noticeable in large cities, with unbridled prices for years, where in addition, the idea of becoming independent for a younger generation who are new to the labor market seems impossible. In response to this reality and to the new work demands, the so-called ‘coliving‘ has emerged, an alternative that reinvents the concept of a university residence, going beyond the mere fact of sharing a roof.
‘Coliving’ soundslike ‘co-working’. Indeed, they go hand in hand. The Anglicism that we have adopted to explain several concepts in a single word (like so many others) speaks of a way of life in which more than a flat and service expenses are shared: experiences, professional advice, leisure time, and even projects are shared. Like ‘co-working‘ , this trend was born in Silicon Valley, a mecca of entrepreneurship, where multitudes of young professionals arrive with a desire to generate connections that help them in their personal and professional growth, but with housing options well out of reach. You could say that it’s a kind of university residence for workers. However, the entrepreneurs who have imported this model to Spain point out that it goes further.
Besides not accepting students, the only thing it would have in common with a residence is the fact that they share a building. “The facilities, activities, and services that we offer are far from those that can be found in a student residence“, explains Marta Torres, head of marketing at Urban Campus, one of the companies that have successfully implemented the model in our country. The ‘colivings’ of the aforementioned company offer accommodation of this type in Spain (120), and are located in central or emerging areas of capital cities, well connected by public transport and with nearby shopping and leisure areas.
Fighting isolation: Those who choose this type of accommodation seek, in addition to a place to live, a space where they can find people who have similar interests and that enable them to expand their employment opportunities. Those that benefit most from this solution are professionals who travel to large cities because of job requirements.
All-inclusive: They offer accommodation starting from 700 euros with everything included. The contracts are flexible, with a minimum one month stay, and they offer the convenience and comfort of being able to forget about contracting and paying for electricity, water, Wi-Fi, TV platforms, maintenance, etc. Furniture and kitchenware are also included.
Pricing: In cities like Madrid, Malaga, Bilbao, Valencia, Seville, the housing problem is real. Coliving is an intermediate solution between sharing a room in an old apartment with a shared kitchen and living room (cheaper) and renting a solo apartment in a well-located neighborhood with common areas (more expensive).
Shared spaces: The community is made up of a variety of different profiles, and while sharing a profession is not required, Urban Campus looks for people who are interested in working together, collaborating, and learning from one another. Those who look to participate and organize activities, (yoga classes, dinners, workshops, brainstorming sessions) and take advantage of the plethora of shared spaces (coworking space, cinema room, dining areas).
Synergies: Urban Campus acts as a melting pot, and community is a catalyst. Ideas arise and start-ups are created. In the case of Urban Campus, its tenants have created a video speed dating application and a hydroponic garden that has been installed in the common area where residents plan to plant fresh fruits and vegetables for the entire community.
With the complete rehabilitation of old buildings, the spaces are rethought to offer private spaces (with shared or private kitchen) and spacious and attractively designed common areas that promote connection. From coworking spaces to areas where you can practice yoga. The up to 8,000 square meters that an Urban Campus building offers, go a long way.
The promoters of this idea believe that most of the rental homes currently offered in the market were designed 70 years ago and do not fit the reality of our generation. Neither physically (unnecessarily large TV rooms and no fitness areas), contractually (rigid and lengthy contracts, etc.), or financially.
Flexibility is another one of the great guarantees of ‘coliving’. With a fully digitalized booking platform and online management, you can rent a room in these residential complexes starting from just one month. However, “on average, our residents stay with us for 11 months“, points out Marta Torres. And rent includes everything, access to the common areas, all services and utilities – even internet and Netflix – in ‘coliving’ there’s no sign up hassle. The units are fully furnished and fully equipped.
In this regard, everything you need to embark on a new journey and leave home can fit comfortably into a couple of suitcases. Of course, it would still be more expensive than paying for a room in a traditional shared apartment with strangers. In the case of Urban Campus, around 700 euros. However, an all inclusive flexible offer, the space, and community clearly differentiate this alternative style of living that many are embracing today.
In addition to the merely practical factor, ‘coliving’ has another social facet: that of creating links through what they call ‘social architecture’. “The transformation of buildings aims to promote connection between people, the creation of an authentic community,” the aforementioned company explains. Thus, the dreaded loneliness faced by many citizens who land in a big city without any social network is combatted with a network of individuals eager to help one another grow.
The community is invested in the personal and professional development of its residents, sharing concerns, and supporting one another. Isolation bears little fruit. During confinement, the tenants of Urban Campus created five entrepreneurship projects.
Who lives in these residential complexes?
The profile of users who are interested in this way of life are young professionals (40% foreigners and 60% nationals) aged 27 to 40, who want privacy, but also seek integration into a community of people with similar interests or concerns, where they can expand their network of contacts. “Some of them are entrepreneurs or expatriates whose profiles do not meet the criteria required by a classic real estate offer, others seek synergies when launching their ‘start-up’, others share a passion for sports or food”, explains Urban Campus. What do all they have in common? A shared vision of community created by support and growth.
This model is more established in capitals such as Madrid and Barcelona, but there are also similar projects (services vary) in the Canary Islands, Andalusia or the Balearic Islands
Now that towns have sprawled into cities, distances have elongated and cars and traffic jams have become a setback to all of the advantages that megalopolis initially offered, it’s time for a change with a 50 step home.
A new vision of urban living is emerging, catapulted by the Covid19 pandemic and remote working trends. The “15minutes city” is based on bringing local and proximity needs into the global network of large cities, enabling inhabitants to economize their time, by reducing distances to their daily needs. The objective: to improve both living conditions and the environment.
Coliving is also exploring this vision. Here at Urban Campus, we have created the “50 steps rule”.
What if your house expanded and transformed into an ecosystem of diverse common spaces, less than 50 steps from your bed?
Coliving fosters a different way of living by exchanging private space for the culture of sharing. Human-beings are social animals. Creating informal connections within our colivings and the surrounding neighborhood enables our residents to find comfort and build-up networks naturally. And it works! 88% of our colivers feel socially supported at Urban Campus.
We have also found that architecture that encourages networking makes people happier. How did we do this? We rethought the whole building to adapt to the changing needs of our users. The spaces are flexible and mold to the different rhythms and schedules of the members. Spaces that were once unused and obsolete were transformed into community spaces: working areas during the day (now that working from home is a must) that transform into event spaces in the evening and weekends, some even becoming gyms and/or gaming/cinema rooms.
We also reduced corridors and improved staircases. Once forgotten spaces are now the vertical spine of communication in buildings, linking the different spaces and promoting well-being and informal interaction between the colivers.
The studios connect to small community areas that facilitate close interaction. You enjoy your private space but at the same time, you can organize a dinner with your neighbors, in a larger fully furnished kitchen and living room.
In addition, residents benefit from special deals with their local shops, creating a strong connection with the neighborhood.
New urban living is built like a Matryoshka doll: different layers of interaction, creating a network that expands from our private spaces to the immediate community and then to the larger neighborhood. Thanks to colivings our homes have opened up to a new and shared way of understanding spaces. and have created a diverse community within buildings that bring closer all your needs.
ARTICLE WRITEN BY ALICIA REGODÓN
Project Manager and space strategist at Urban Campus.
As PMO and Space Strategist, Alicia is responsible for analyzing future Urban Campus products, managing the transformation, and understanding the use and occupancy through data, enabling the best experience to the users of our different spaces. She has an international background in transformation and participatory projects in Spain, China, Australia, and Brazil.
Urban Campus, in collaboration with Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, launched Challenge Colivingback in March, a competition aimed at the Creative Industries students (Integral Design, Architecture, Fine Arts and Fashion) of the Rey Juan Carlos University.
Today we are happy to announce the winners:
Davinia Franco, Laura González and Josemi Madrigal, all three studying Integral Design and Image Management, are the winners of the first Challenge Coliving competition! Congratulations to all of you 🎉!
Urban Campus, a company dedicated to the design of collaborative spaces for coliving and coworking, and the School of Creative Industries of Rey Juan Carlos University are the promoters of this contest, that took place between the months of March and December 2020. The objective was to get the students of the school to rethink the existing shared spaces of Urban Campus in Madrid, involving them in the design of new coliving spacesduring the Covid-19 era, and encouraging them to take their ideas to the next level.
Is coliving the cure for loneliness during the confinement? El confidential investigates Coliving during the Covid 19 pandemic. They spoke to Urban Campus, and some other key players in the game, as well as our coliviers to get their opinion on living in one of our spaces during lockdown.
Coliving has proven to be one of the most resilient sectors during the pandemic, and experts predict a ‘boom’ in this type of lifestyle in the next two years.
Coliving is a residential model based on renting a private space and sharing common areas between people with similar values and interests. Some residents of these spaces define it as a ‘lifestyle’. It may seem that this set-up is incompatible with the pandemic, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it has proven to be one of the most resilient Real Estate sectors in the face of COVID, triggering a rise in occupation after lockdowns. Experts agree that there will be a boom in coliving in the next two years.
Urban Campus has two coliving spaces in Madrid, one in Malasaña and the other in Chamberí. Marketing manager, Marta Torres, acknowledges that during the confinement around 20% of the residents left, however, currently, of the 120 units between the two spaces, capacity is now at 95%. “As of mid-June we saw an increase in demands,” explains Marta to El Confidencial.
The most surprising thing is that the majority of new ‘colivers’ are Spanish, whereas before there was a higher percentage of international residents. “The trend has been reversed, now we have 60% national and 40% international,” Marta details. To make residents feel safe, they have implemented a multitude of sanitary measures. As in any public place in Spain the use of masks is mandatory in common areas, where the capacity is also now reduced to 50%. They have also popularised ‘online’ activities, such as the weekly community dinners, which before the pandemic were held in person. In addition, potential residents are offered the possibility of visiting the rooms online and can even ‘check-in’ remotely.
One Urban Campus ‘coliver’ is Xacobo Agraso,a 32-year-old young man from Galicia. Since August 2019 he has lived in the space that the company has on Andrés Mellado street, in Chamberí, which is where he spent the lockdown. During those three months only the five other people he shared the apartment with were allowed in & out. “It was very different because we were used to a dynamic of sharing spaces and moments with all of the residents of the building,” he explains to us.
He feels a much stronger sense of community has been created. “We feel protected and we protect each other,” he says. A WhatsApp group for all residents helped them to stay in touch and send words of encouragement, between the difficult months of April and June. Today they continue to use this means of communication to share the latest restrictions implemented by the Government, organize yoga classes, distribute job offers, and so on. It even helps them lend a helping hand to those who have tested positive in the community, and can therefore not leave their homes. “There is a very strong community feeling that we all really appreciate”, Xacobo emphasizes.
Of course no space is totally free of the Coronavirus. For this reason Urban Campus have developed a protocol to isolate any infected person and persons with whom they have been in contact with. Thanks to this strict protocol, they have managed to have no more than four cases. One of those cases was that of Esteban Sánchez, a 41-year-old Venezuelan who overcame Covid 20 days ago, without suffering any serious symptoms. “It was strange to experience this situation with roommates. The first thing I did was notify all of them, and then stop using the common areas. We then put in place an agreement for when I could use the kitchen” explains the ‘coliver’.
Another reference in ‘coliving’ is the Italian company, DoveVivo, who operate in Spain under the Oh My Place brand. Its Director of Operations, Irene Trujillo, recalls the feeling of “uncertainty” that she had when the pandemic began. Luckily they have seen though that “the sector has been very resilient and has come out much stronger.” Their strength lies in the fact that they are not part of the tourism sector, so residents stay living on average 12 months in their spaces. In addition many people do not want to go back to living alone with the possibility of another lockdown always hanging in the air, so this model “is a very interesting alternative.” Of course they have also implemented the necessary sanitary measures to prevent infections. They have increased the levels of social distancing, limited face-to-face activities, reinforced cleaning and they carry out a regular control of air quality. Regarding the protocol in the event of a positive case, they follow the steps stipulated by the Minister of Health.
Arrival of international investors
Coliving in Spain is still in its young stage, with just 500 beds available. The growth opportunities within the sector are insightful and some international investors are already looking at potential properties. “We are seeing European, American and Asian investors who are already analyzing buildings”, points out Javier Caro, Director of Coliving at CBRE, a Real Estate consultancy group. He assures that some operations have already been finalised, and predicts that the offer will multiply by up to five by the end of 2022. This is also something demonstrated by the main operators in the sector. For example, DoveVivo plans to open a new centre in Madrid of 1,600 square meters and 400 beds, in the incoming weeks. In addition, it is about to close on two other projects in the capital, one in Chamberí and the other in Moncloa. For their part, Urban Campus plans to open more than 2,300 beds by 2023, for which they have a team dedicated to finding new buildings in both Spain and the rest of Europe.
Caro clarifies that “the business model has a long history in Spain, with a more adjusted profitability, drawing more attention to it, compared to other more consolidated markets”. He adds that these spaces will be increasingly specialized, distinguishing between, for example, communities of divorced people, entrepreneurs, MBA students, young professionals, digital nomads etc. Other real estate sectors are also seeing the potential of ‘coliving’. “Residential areas where people have common interests are the future. We are beginning to move in that direction, something we are already seeing in some Anglo-Saxon countries”, indicates Rebeca Pérez, founder and CEO of Inviertis, a company specialising in buy-to-let property. Above all, he is struck by the coliving spaces on offer for the elderly, “a segment of the population that is very large in Spain and lacks modern proposals.” He points out that these new communities will have a 24-hour infirmary and a hot water pool so that the elderly can exercise. Despite the fact that the sector still does not have specific legislation in Spain, the Director of Living at JLL Spain, a Real Estate Consultancy firm, Juan Manuel Pardo does not think that it will be an obstacle to the arrival of new international investors. “It comes under the sector of lodging, which perfectly covers the term ‘coliving’. Pardo also believes “that having specific regulation will encourage the arrival of even more investors”. He affirms that “more and more operators are deciding to enter the Spanish market and are actively looking for products.”
El Economista interviewed some Coliving and Coworking keyplayers, Urban Campus being one of them, to analyze how Covid and Social Distancing have impacted the sector.
You can read the full article, Coworking and Coliving Transformed In Times of Social Distancing, here in Spanish, or keep reading for the translated English version.
‘Coworking’ and ‘Coliving’: How have they transformed in times of social distancing?
Flexibility to adapt to users has been key during the pandemic
The creation of an engaged community is an aspect highly valued by tenants
In recent years the real estate sector has adapted to new ways of living and working with concepts such as coliving and coworking. The pandemic & it’s subsequent sanitary restrictions have led these businesses to develop health & safety protocols and adapt disinfection and cleaning measures to provide safe spaces. Different agents in the sector agree that flexibility with users and the importance of the community have been the key criteria in the new models they have put in place. Begging the question, what is a shared space in the age of social distancing?
In the case of coliving, at the toughest point of the pandemic, “occupancy percentages fell and rents were renegotiated, both with tenants and between building managers and owners. However there have been no major impacts on assets managed by already efficient operators and in the business sector itself, “explains Javier Caro, director of Coliving at CBRE Spain.
Laia Comas, CEO of Inèdit Barcelona, explained that their business began to recover around October, with a rebound in demands. He added though, “reservations are made at the last minute, from one day to the next, whereas before reservations were forecasted, on average, three months in advance”. Between the months of October and December they reached an occupancy of approximately 60%, recovering earlier than expected. However the new wave of Covid cases in January and subsequent lockdowns, again caused reservations to be made last minute but they have succeeded to maintain an occupancy of approximately 60%, and forecast that between now and April they will be able to go up to 70%“.
Coliving has transformed in times of social distancing
Adapting to the current situation has been one of Inèdit Barcelona’s objectives. They decided to give maximum flexibility in making and canceling reservations. “In the rental contracts we have added the Covid Clause where it is indicated that if for any reason related to the disease you need to cancel the contract, you can do so without penalty or notice,” says Comas.”Coliving has aroused more interest because the first confinement was hard and many people prefer to be accompanied in a community and with a team, to support any inconveniences”.
Urban Campus agrees with Inèdit on this point. Marta Torres, Marketing Manager of Urban Campus, shared with us “we have quite a few testimonials from people who say that if they were to experience confinement again, they would still remain in our spaces”. The possibility of remote visits and check-ins, the use of technology to reduce capacity of common areas to 50% and fun but remote community events, are some of the measures that Urban Campus have put in place to guarantee the safety of the residents. Torres explains that “we avoided all check-ins until the state of alarm was lifted, because we did not want to introduce new people into the coliving”. “Since June we have been increasing occupancy thanks to the change from international to more national clients. We continue to have 40% of international demands but we have managed to increase the national ones”. In September they reached an occupancy of 90% and right now it is around 95%.
The pandemic has been a great catalyst for the Coliving concept. Javier Caro believes that during 2021 more international operators will arrive with force in Spain, creating thousands of beds, to respond to this movement. A demand that has been waiting a long time for a response. “We also think that there will be specialized coliving as has happened with the coworking market” explains Caro.
The adaptation of ‘coworking’
The impact of Covid has been uneven for coworking spaces, depending on the profile of their clients. “Those who had a lot of freelances in their clientele or organised many events, were impacted from the day one. Those whose clients were companies however, have suffered less and, in many cases, have managed to keep most of their clients,” explains Eduardo Salsamendi , President of the ProWorkSpaces Association. Salsamendi explains this difference by the increase in demand for flexible offices and coworking spaces by large companies. Multinational corporations are adapting their strategies by using workspaces in flexible offices, in order to improve the efficiency of their real estate footprint and increase the productivity of its processes “.
The giants of the coworking sector however have not stopped working because of the crisis: in total there are more than 20 new centres set to open up in the near future.
They may have temporarily lost some customers, due to the ease clients have to cancel contracts, but coworking operators have remained very proactive during the crisis and offered flexibility to their users. Thanks to this flexibility, many have been able to retain their customers”, explains Jesse Derkx, Agile Practice Director of CBRE Spain. The business sector, according to the experts, is slowly recovering since “many operators have reinvented themselves and offer solutions in accordance with current needs.”
Subscriptions for days or hours are among the solutions offered by ‘coworking’
Urban Campus have launched more flexible subscriptions: passes for days, half-days or smaller offices, in which users can rotate, are just some of the examples. Thanks to this they have seen positive results and have managed to increase occupancy to anywhere between 60% – 70%, whereas the average in the general market is at approximately 20% “.
In the case of LOOM, they have taken advantage of the months of confinement to create new ultra-flexible products called LOOM Solutions. These are flexible solutions that allow the user to sign-up by the hour and use those hours in any of the spaces in the LOOM network. This quarter the program is starting with three large companies, who will be rolling out their mobile workforces in the LOOM spaces for several hours. Speaking to us, LOOM explained that last year, part of their community was forced to abandon their workspaces, especially the companies most vulnerable to a crisis of such magnitude. However, since the last quarter of 2020, these types of companies (startups, independent professionals, some SMEs) are the first to return to the spaces, thanks to these new initiatives.
Utopicus older spaces have around 70% of occupancy
Rafa de Ramón, CEO of Utopicus explains the impact of COVID on their spaces: “There is no doubt that at the billing level we have suffered a considerable decrease, not only because of current customers but also because during these months we opened 4 new centres and Covid has slowed down its pre-marketing and disrupted the forecasts we had for the first half of 2020. Despite this spaces opened during Covid are at 50% of their total occupancy, with older spaces at their highest occupancy, around 70%.
Utopicus, who have 13 spaces distributed around the prime areas of Madrid and Barcelona, have included among its sanitary measures the registration of visits through tablets situated in the reception areas and the quarantine and disinfection of mail and correspondences.
Impact Hub Madrid noticed a reactivation of interest, in terms of demand for the spaces, between the months of August and October. “Many flexible, self-employed or freelance workers who had to cancel their reservations, returned,” says Sonia Felipe, Marketing and Communication Director of Impact Hub Madrid. “In the first months of the pandemic we lost around 60/70% of our flexible clientele and where we managed to maintain numbers was in landlines and offices”, continues Felipe. In addition, the she points out that there is new interest “from a handful of companies who had not before considered working in a coworking”. In support of its members, Impact Hub Madrid has also launched the HUB Impulsa program, which connects the companies in its network with expert organizations in different fields, to help them boost their business.
Some industry experts believe that the current situation may represent an opportunity to develop the coworking sector. Derkx explains, “Covid-19 is a blessing in disguise. After suffering cancellations, made easy by one of coworking’s main selling points, flexibility, the lockdown has generated a lot of interest for coworkings, as companies and workers realize that it is possible to work elsewhere than the office”.
Companies value the possibility of dividing teams and reducing the space of their headquarters
For his part, de Ramón assures that “there are many indicators that suggest that in the near future companies will have to get rid of rigid rental contracts to make their costs profitable, and therefore seek the flexibility of networks such as Utopicus. Salsamendi states that “companies are seeing the opportunity to include the division of equipment in their strategies and the possibility of reducing the surface area of their headquarters, using our centres as a third space,” says Salsamendi.
Looking to the future, LOOM predicts “we are seeing that corporations are moving towards a model in which there is a central staff, who go to company headquarters every day, and mobile staff who rotate, have shifts, telework some days and go to the office other days. The central staff will operate under the conventional office model and the mobile staff will operate under the flexible office model “.
Do you agree on how Coworking and Coliving have transformed in times of social distancing?
The Urban Campus team along with REI Habitat (developer) and 813 Capital (investor) won the RFP for the development and management of a 4,800m2 coliving residence.
Located in the heart of France’s premier university and research hub of the École Polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay and just a walking distance from the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique and other leading sciences and engineering schools.
The residence will offer 115 studios and a working space aimed at science and technology entrepreneurs.
It is planned to open at the end of 2023.
Paris, 16th December 2020
Urban Campus, together with REI Habitat (developer) and 813 Capital (investor), have won the RFP for the development and management of a 4,800 m² coliving residence located in the heart of France’s premier university and research hub of the École Polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay. The hub is a walking distance from the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique and other leading sciences and engineering schools, with more than 15% of all research jobs in France located in Paris-Saclay.
The consortium was selected by the government’s planning authority from among 12 candidates, with the project’s exceptional environmental performance being the winning feature. The building, developed by REI Habitat, is a wood construction achieving best-in-class carbon-neutrality standards.
The residence will offer 115 studios and a working space aimed at science and technology entrepreneurs. It is planned to open at the end of 2023.
Maxime Depreux, CDO, expressed that “This project is a testimony of Urban Campus’s ability to focus on the most attractive projects and locations. We constantly innovate to create a residential offer that proposes well-designed spaces with access to services and community. We wish to thank our partner, 813 Capital, for their support and trust”.
CEO, John van Oost added “The management of residential buildings needs to be continuously optimized in order to propose affordable rents to the tenants, whilst delivering reasonable profitability to the property investors. The residences need to be conceived and managed with the highest sustainability, energy consumption, and air quality standards in mind. Dunbar, our proprietary technology is a crucial tool to achieve these objectives.”
Urban Campus in a nutshell
Founded in 2016 by John van Oost and Maxime Armand, Urban Campus redefines the rules of residential housing in major European cities by offering co-living,co-working, and community spaces adapted to new lifestyles.
International operators such as Urban Campus, StarCity, Habyt or Dovevivo have already entered the national market and have very aggressive expansion plans for southern Europe.
The Spanish opportunity.
In Madrid, Urban Campus has 120 beds; Habyt 110 and Homii 180. In Barcelona there is almost a thousand, with The Student Hotel being the most active operator with 595 operational beds and another 3,000 on the way – they also plan on opening in Madrid, with 340 beds, and 328 projected in Sebastián–. You’ll also find in Barcelona Starcity, with 100 beds, and Inedit, with 113. Among future developments, Homii plans to expand its portfolio in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, and Malaga. DoveVivo also plans to open in the capital city and in the city of Turia.
‘Coliving’, the networking residence
One of the markets that seems to go from strength to strength during the current economic and social uncertainty is home rental, and with it, coliving. This phenomenon was born in Silicon Valley after young people faced increasing difficulty finding affordable housing at the beginning of their careers. It is defined as a community and networking space, but also one that is residential. A kind of residence for students (but without an age limit) aimed at young professionals and freelancers, offering more sophisticated common areas such as spas, gyms, swimming pools and coworkings.
“Coliving means a different way of life. A life that’s more flexible, as all services are included in the rate, with an active community. A building where all the tenants are at the same point in life and where they can share experiences ”, explains Javier Caro, director of Coliving at CBRE.
Just as coworking implies better efficiency in using office spaces in densified city centers, coliving also allows better efficient occupancy by prioritizing high residential standards, at affordable prices. Prices usually include WiFi, utility bills, furniture, cleaning services and access to gyms. “In real estate terms, it is an operating asset that combines community management of a student residence, the services of a hotel and the stability of a residential asset, as a result of affordable rents, services on demand and high occupancies ”. In Spain coliving is receiving great recognition in the build to rent sector, largely due to the fact that less than 5% of the total market offer is under professional management “and there is a lack of this kind of experience within the accommodation sector ”, adds the CBRE executive.
International operators such as Urban Campus, StarCity, Habyt or Dovevivo have already entered the national market and have very aggressive expansion plans in southern Europe.
In the specific case of Spain, for the moment it is not a regulated market (we will see if the current Government is capable of restraining itself, with regards to coliving, in its Housing Law, defined with pride as the most interventionist on renting, in Europe). For now colivings can be operated as a residential or hotel asset. The types of rooms will depend on the demand, whether it is aimed at travellers, students (usually postgraduate), or young corporate professionals. As there is no current regulation, the rental agreements can range from 1 to 11 months (while the Urban Leasing Law establishes that the tenant can be linked to the house for 5 to 7 years).
As for prices, currently on average in Madrid rooms in colivings cost around 1,100 euros per month, more or less in line with the rental of a private studio of about 30 square meters, according to CBRE estimates. This makes Madrid one of the most expensive rental capitals in Europe. As some examples: in Amsterdam, a 30-square-meter studio costs less than 1,000 euros per month; in Vienna under 800 euros and in Berlin, 750 euros. In Milan coliving is not yet regulated either and average prices range from 410 euros per month for a basic room, to 1,000 for a bigger room. In Berlin, coliving rents vary from 599 euros in a shared apartment to 1,100 in a studio, with Germany being the most mature market for investing in micro-apartments (1.9 billion euros since 2015, according to CBRE).
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