Giant UK-Based Co-Living Operator Expands US Footprint
The Collective, a British developer of the world’s largest co-living community, which has 8,000 units operating or under development in the UK and continental Europe, is expanding to the United States and Wynwood was chosen to host its fifth operation in the country.
The project will cost $210 million and will have 325,000 square feet with eight to 12 floors and will include co-living spaces, restaurants, galleries, and art studios. The project will start construction in the next 18 to 24 months.
The site is located at 2825 NW Second Avenue, which is the current address of Wynwood Gateway. Right now the tenants are Ducati Miami motorcycle dealership, Boxelder craft beer market, Palmar Chinese restaurant, Empire Ink Tattoo, DIROCCO Eyewear, and Selina Brawlers hybrid/workspace retailer. The owners of Boxelder and Palmar are already looking for new locations.
Reza Merchant, founder, and CEO of The Collective acquired a majority stake in the property, according to Tony Cho, CEO, and president of real estate brokerage/development firm Metro 1. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Cho will continue as a partner in the project.
“When I talked to Reza, there was a real alignment in terms of our vision of what the future should look like,” Cho said. “He’s not just doing this as a commercial venture. It’s a culture that he’s creating. I’ve stayed in some of his projects in London and I understand what he’s doing. He’s very focused on the creative and the artist, and there’s going to be a strong commitment to the creative class in this building.”
The Collective has also acquired three units in New York and one in Chicago. The company is preparing to open its first unit in the suburb of Queens in Long Island City. The Paper Factory, how the project is called, is a former manufacturing warehouse, that now will function as a short-term hotel/living facility with 125 rooms when it opens in the fall.
“Cities are growing, but the space in cities is finite,” Merchant said about his company’s philosophy. “There has to be a more efficient way of using space. There’s also a growing realization by people that having a sense of community and meaningful relationships is a part of life. Living in a more communal environment can create that sense of fulfillment because you have the ability to connect with other people.”