Free Beer and Monthly Cleaning: Is This The Future of Apartment Living?

  • May 3rd 2016

by Nena Perry-Brown

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Free Beer and Monthly Cleaning: Is This The Future of Apartment Living?: Figure 1
A studio unit at WeLive Crystal City

WeLive, an offshoot of WeWork that extends the co-working concept to the home, is a communal residential concept that looks like a cross between a Real World house and a hotel. As UrbanTurf has been reporting, WeLive is opening its second location in a converted office building in Crystal City this month.

Stephanie Sutton, a mechanical engineer at TechShop, had been living in Crystal City for a year when she learned of the opportunity to beta test the WeLive concept. Sutton has now been living at the Crystal City location for the last month.

“I’ve always been a pretty shy person, so going out and making friends has been kind of difficult, but here, you just go to the kitchen and cook breakfast with somebody, you go to the living room and watch a movie with somebody, it’s like a very unforced way to socialize,” Sutton told UrbanTurf.

Each floor of the building has 24 units, and members can rent anything from a private one- or two-bed studio apartment ($1,640-1,880 a month) to a single bed ($875 a month) in a three- or four-bedroom unit. One month’s membership serves as a security deposit, and a $125 monthly amenity fee covers utilities, WiFi, cable and a monthly cleaning of your space.

Free Beer and Monthly Cleaning: Is This The Future of Apartment Living?: Figure 2
The communal kitchen

All units have a kitchenette area with a refrigerator and freezer, modular storage and furniture, but the WeLive set-up entails several “neighborhoods” throughout the building, which are three interconnected floors that share a kitchen, lounge and style of decor. In addition to standard amenities like a yoga studio and concierge, the building will have a community manager that will organize events and a WeLive mobile app will help residents stay in the loop. There are also little stores scattered around where residents can purchase toiletries, snacks and beverages, and your membership fee also provides you with free beer and coffee.

“It kind of takes certain aspects of different types of housing situations and combines them,” Sutton said. “Like, you have the togetherness of dorms, but you don’t have the childishness.” Sutton is renting a bed in a four-bedroom unit with three women she didn’t know prior to moving in.

To be sure, this type of residential concept is not for everyone. The similarities to a more upscale version of college living certainly exist, and many recent grads and young adults likely want to move on to a more private living arrangement after four years of dorm life.

Free Beer and Monthly Cleaning: Is This The Future of Apartment Living?: Figure 3
A living area.

As with all new openings, there have been issues. Right now, only one of the four elevators works due to construction in two of the three neighborhoods. The construction also means that not all of the advertised amenities are built yet, as each neighborhood has an amenity space. Also, members will be able to book communal areas for private events, but the community manager is unsure whether there will be a fee attached.

“It’s a new opening so you’re gonna run into issues,” Sutton said. “You can report issues using the app on your phone, and someone responds very quickly via email.”

“The staff is face-to-face with the member all the time, so there’s this kind of constant conversation around what people feel strongly about…” WeWork general manager Dave McLaughlin said. “Most of the team lives here and we did that on purpose for these first ones because we really wanted to make sure that this conversation that I’m describing is kind of going on all the time.”

Perhaps the most flexible aspects of the WeLive concept are the membership terms. If living in such a communal environment is not your cup of tea, you can give thirty days notice and move out.

See other articles related to: co-living, cohousing, crystal city, welive, welive crystal city, wework

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/free_beer_and_monthly_cleaning_future_apartment_living/11181.

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