Fresh off a $7.35 million round of investment, Brad Hargreaves, the CEO of Common—"a community of passionate and creative people who live, work, and play together"—has spent the last year peddling the trendy concept of shared living spaces to affluent young people (or young people with affluent parents?) in Crown Heights and, come springtime, the corner of South 3rd Street and Havemeyer in Williamsburg—where single bedrooms will rent for $2,250 to $3,190 for a month-to-month lease.
To be clear, this will be the monthly rent not for a studio apartment or a one-bedroom apartment, but for a single bedroom in one of 12 duplex suites shared with one, two or three other roommates. This appears to be Common's mission: to repackage the camaraderie of a freshman dorm room and the Friday night potluck at your college's vegetarian food coop for financially independent adults. Common can even take away the hassle of deciding who you'll be sharing your home with. "So far people have liked their roommates," Hargreaves said. "We typically choose them."
Addressing the cost of living during an interview on Wednesday, Hargreaves emphasized that all of the rooms come fully furnished, and are constantly replenished with coffee, tea, toilet paper, and other household staples that "roommates fight over to go buy." Wifi, free laundry and weekly cleaning is included, and there's a room with yoga mats and free weights. Also, the more expensive rooms are bigger, and come with a private bathroom. (Sign a 12-month lease for a discount—$1,800 for a small room or $2,650 for more space.) As Hargreaves put it, "It's quite analogous to a studio in some ways."
(Sophie Wilkinson / Common)
"This is a reaction to the shining glass tower where nobody knows their neighbors," Hargreaves added, justifying his decision to equip every suite in his newest building with a dedicated Slack channel.
For the uninitiated, Slack is a group chat platform popular among media outlets and tech startups that helps workers, mostly young white-collar ones, both procrastinate at work and never really stop working.
"We use Slack for the entire building, and the members love it," Hargreaves added, referring to his already-established co-living apartments in Crown Heights. "Someone will say they are making pancakes [in the channel] on a Sunday morning, and people will show up and have their own impromptu breakfast."
Gone are the days of knocking on your neighbor's door for a cup of sugar for your gluten free brownies. Instead, neighbors are probably bumping into each other as they walk into the elevator while pressing send on a .gif of a cat falling into a toilet to signify the indignity of #Mondays, and/or the L train. You can't spell Community without Common... oh, wait.