Ammr Vandal, Architecture Director, The Collective, discusses the company's global membership model.
Photo by Minu Han, courtesy of The Collective

Focusing on all-inclusive co-living, Ted Popov, Vice President of Acquisitions, Ollie, talked about how the transaction for affordable housing happens.
Photo by Devon Telberg, courtesy of CTBUH New York

Ian Sinclair, Senior Urban Designer, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, talked about why NYC is interested in how new housing types can help make affordable housing more accessible.
Photo by Minu Han, courtesy of The Collective

After their individual presentations, Sinclair, Vandal and Popov joined moderator Wu for an engaging Q&A.
Photo by Minu Han, courtesy of The Collective

The Paper Factory Hotel, the host of the event, will soon transition into The Collective's first operational U.S. location.
Photo by Minu Han, courtesy of The Collective

5 July, 2019

NEW YORK CITY – What is co-living and why is it important for NYC?

50 attendees convened to explore the social, legal and financial benefits and challenges of co-living as a developing housing model, where residents share living spaces, resources, interests, values and/or intentions. It’s a new take on an old idea, imagined by a millennial generation that values openness, inclusivity, collaboration, networking and the sharing economy.

After a networking reception, hosted by The Collective, CTBUH NY FLC Co-Chair Larry Giannechini, formally welcomed everyone. Then moderator Daniel Wu, JD/PhD (Privacy Counsel, Legal Engineer and Housing Researcher) led our panel discussion and Q&A with co-living designers and policy experts.

Together, the group discussed how co-living can diversify New York City’s residential landscape. AIA continuing education credits were offered for those eligible.

Ammr Vandal, AIA, The Collective’s U.S. Architecture Director, oversees the design vision for each of The Collective’s locations in the U.S. market, ensuring its co-living spaces address a spectrum of needs, both for members and the surrounding public. How can architecture drive placemaking and community-building in an organic, engaging way? Vandal illustrated how The Collective team’s professional insight and experience has enabled each project to inform the next. Working towards a global membership model, The Collective seeks to offer customers flexibility that changes their experience of and enables a value-driven, flexible lifestyle. The business also has a Foundation, which supports promising entrepreneurial talent through accelerator programs and hyperlocal microgrants.

Focusing on all-inclusive co-living, Ted Popov, Vice President of Acquisitions, Ollie talked about how the transaction for affordable housing happens. He discussed how the market has taken advantage of high prices for a simple bedroom, and how Ollie humanizes housing by layering in an additional amenity program to provide a comfortable, convenient and community-driven living experience. At the same time, they address the need for density to drive down the cost to consumers while simultaneously increasing the revenue per square foot for developers. Combining apartments, dorms and hotels allows a high level of quality housing while competing at an affordable level of the market.

Ian Sinclair, Senior Urban Designer, NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, talked about why NYC is interested in how new housing types can help make affordable housing more accessible, and how we can use small units to relieve pressure on the broader housing market. Two-thirds of households are single- or two-person, yet less than half of existing units are studios or one-bedrooms. At the same time, vacancy rates for units with rents less than $800/month is just 1.15%, and just over 2% for units with rents between $800-$999/month. Piloting affordable shared housing and micro unit projects, enabling both deeply affordable and mixed-income buildings, can test how new typologies can help address the need for more equitable housing solutions.

After their individual presentations, Sinclair, Vandal and Popov joined moderator Wu for an engaging Q&A. They shared thoughts on what’s exciting about co-living, how design brings people together and what New Yorkers are doing as a city to elevate the conversation around affordable housing in one of the most populated cities in the world.

Speakers discussed how co-living has been an ever-evolving housing model that is now servicing the New York residential community by providing affordable and holistic living options. Challenges to the market include risk adverse financial investment, evolving legislation and new design requirements. The speakers presented innovative solutions to encourage community building, roommate matching and investment security.

The CTBUH New York chapter would like thank its hosts, The Collective and the Paper Factory team. The Paper Factory Hotel will soon transition into The Collective’s first operational U.S. location. The Collective will transform the building, based in Long Island City, Queens, into a co-living environment, first debuting an ambitious cultural events program that integrates the surrounding neighborhood while appealing to an international audience of visitors.