The co-living trend seems to be picking up in Chicago. Co-living is a housing arrangement where people who don't necessarily know each other live in the same apartment and share a kitchen, but are only responsible for a lease for their bedroom. This saves tenants money by having shared facilities, which often includes in-unit laundry. Many co-living developments offer other amenities popular with new apartment complexes today, including rooftop decks, coworking space, and a gym.
Co-living isn't new; unrelated adults have been sharing apartments for centuries. The difference now is the provision of on-site amenities, on par with the amenities of the newest apartment buildings in Chicago. As a renter myself, there's an attraction to modern co-living: you save a little money by having roommates, but you don't have to find them yourself, and you aren't responsible for their portion of the rent.
Many co-living operators include a weekly professional cleaning in the rent, which could come in handy in case roommates don't want to set up a chore wheel. Some co-living properties also provide fully furnished apartments.
In Chicago, co-living buildings must adhere to the same zoning code standards and largely the same building code standards as a multi-family development. They're also subject to the same Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) standards as a multi-unit building.
Even though the standards are the same, navigating Buildings department and Planning & Development department processes may not be completely straightforward for new co-living developers.
MAPS has experience consulting on design and code compliance for co-living facilities, and we want to help you avoid any code compliance complications. MAPS can also assist with licensing any on-site food and beverage facilities. We invite new co-living developers to talk to our leadership team prior to presenting a proposal to either the Buildings or Planning departments.
Co-living buildings in Chicago come in all shapes and sizes
There are eight co-living buildings in Chicago, by our count, operated by a handful of local, national, and international companies. Most, if not all, of the facilities allow whole apartments to be leased.
Common has developed a platform that local developers can use to make it easy to turn an existing building, or build new, into a co-living facility. There are three Common buildings in Chicago, at 455 W Briar Pl., 2048 W Chicago Ave., and 1407 W 15th St. is currently under construction.
The Briar Pl. location in Lakeview is unique amongst the buildings because it has has 14 bedrooms and 8.5 bathrooms in a converted two-flat. All other buildings are new construction.
Recently, a privately-owned dormitory for DePaul University students began accepting non-students at 1237 W. Fullerton Ave. The building, called 1237 West, is owned and operated by The Scion Group.
Medici Living Group is a German company that has launched the international Quarters brand for co-living. They opened their first location in Chicago in the West Loop, in a building at 171 N Aberdeen St developed by MCZ Development.
30 East Apartments is a co-living building in the South Loop which opened in 2017. Nestled among several colleges and universities, its marketing is geared towards students, but you don’t have to be a student to live there. The building was developed by Gilbane and is managed by Asset Campus Housing.
If you know of a co-living building other than the eight listed here, please let me know.