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In Shaw, Hedging Bets on Apartment-Sharing Millennials

by Lark Turner

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One D.C. developer is going big, not micro, to target millennials.

Ditto Residential has nearly completed work on The Oslo at 1734 6th Street NW (map), a nine-unit project in Shaw designed for apartment-sharing millennials. To some, it may seem like a strange choice in a city that’s facing down an influx of tiny apartments aimed at the same demographic.

To rent the properties without divvying up the space too much, Ditto decided to go with larger floor plans, not smaller: Three three-bedroom apartments on the ground floor and six four-bedrooms throughout the rest of the building.

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The three bedrooms come in just under 1,000 square feet; the four-bedrooms have about 1,400. Though the bedrooms are relatively small, most have large windows. Much of the apartment space is given over to bathrooms (each bedroom has one), walk-in closets and most of all, an expansive shared living space.

Ditto president Martin Ditto thinks the building will appeal to a certain type of person who isn’t interested in living in a micro-unit.

“[I understand] why developers are building micro-units because people have this desire to be in a great location in new product and they’re willing to pay for it,” Ditto said. “But $2,000, $2,500 a month is a lot of money, and not everyone can afford that and live in the location that they want.” The three-bedrooms at The Oslo are priced at $3,895/month; the four-bedrooms start at $5,585/month.

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Move-ins will start later this month, and the company is considering doing happy hours to help twosomes find roommates and fill the four-bedrooms if necessary. That’s reminiscent of Stage 3 Properties’ plans for its group-living micro-unit product, Samsara, which was considering using a roommate-matching service to help fill its rooms when we spoke to them earlier this year.

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The units will offer a lower per-person price point than the luxury micro-units planned around the city. Prices at Oslo start at about $1,298/bedroom. That should appeal to a demographic that’s willing to share to get a better product, Ditto said — and perhaps one that’s less interested in living alone.

“Not everybody can live by themselves, and not everybody wants to live by themselves,” he said. “A lot of my development friends think we’re crazy, but truthfully, over the past year and a half, it’s become more and more obvious that it was a calculated risk. We’re not ready to count our chips yet, but we’re pretty confident.”

See other articles related to: millennials, ditto residential, ditto

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/in_shaw_ditto_hedges_bets_on_apartment-sharing_millennials/9200

3 Comments

  1. skidrowedc@gmail.com said at 5:06 pm on Friday November 7, 2014:

    Definitely an interesting angle, and surely (given metro DC’s population of some 5 million), Ditto can fill up 9 units.  Especially since the Oslo is a good-looking building 1 1/2 blocks from Metro.  It’s hard, however, to see this concept translating to a larger scale building—more than about 20 units—especially if the location isn’t as good.  So it’s probably a niche concept.  But nothing’s wrong with that, and DC needs affordable options at all levels, both subsidized and market.

    I would note, however, that even with “relatively small” bedrooms and one-wall kitchens, it’s hard to see how 3 bedrooms + 3 bathrooms + walk-in closets + “expansive” living spaces could clock in at under 1,000 sf.  Double check that stat?

  1. Paul S said at 6:54 pm on Friday November 7, 2014:

    @skidrowedc - Just visit their website. They are indeed under 1000sf. But the living room is tiny and I would classify the walk in closets as merely a deep coat closet.

    http://www.oslo-dc.com/apartments/

  1. Chase said at 11:54 am on Monday November 10, 2014:

    These are reminiscent of all of the fancy new residence halls universities have/are building—see UMD just a few miles up the road. Why end college when college is over? Move all of your friends to DC and have mom and dad continue to foot the bill….I speak from experience.

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