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Who will come? “passionate and creative people who live, work, and play together” or “young frat bro types who have loud parties”?

by Prince Of Petworth October 24, 2016 at 2:00 pm 64 Comments

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“Dear PoPville,

So this monstrosity has been in progress for 2 years in the alley behind my house on Richardson place, NW. Pre-fab hauled in on cranes and plopped down in one day. I’m annoyed because it’s taken two years to get off the ground and all the associated inconveniences of having portions of the alley blocked off but my neighbors are sort of worried what kind of people will come into the neighborhood – possibly young frat bro types who have loud parties or what not. But I just found the concept interesting: Shared housing for those who live life in common

We’re a community of passionate and creative people who live, work, and play together.

Be part of a collaborative and welcoming culture that fosters a strong sense of community.

We’re opening a brand new home in Shaw in December 2016.

Our newest DC residence has 24 bedrooms, each with a private en-suite bath, as well as large shared spaces for cooking, dining and hanging. It’s the perfect place to create community.

12 month pricing starting at $1,700/Month”

shared

  • samanda_bynes

    1700 and forced to share my cooking areas with a bunch of people? no thanks. this is America damn it!

    • Tsar of Truxton

      To be fair, it includes all utilities, cleaning/bathroom supplies, and cooking/kitchen supplies (not sure if that means groceries or just like spices and whatnot to cook with), weekly cleaning of common areas, so it is super easy to budget. Still not for me.

      • samanda_bynes

        oh yeah, it’s def affordable, and honestly probably a good way to meet new people in the city. but, this strikes me as those craigslist ads where the housemates say they wanna hang out with their roommates – for every 1 or 2 that are awesome households (like mine – still very good friends with the ex-roomies) there’s the 8 or 9 that are forced and seem unnatural.

        • Bryan

          $1700 a month for a dorm room? I usually like to be wined and dined before I like to be @&#$*. That is pretty ridiculous.

          • Bryan

            Edit:

            I didn’t mean to respond to your comment! Supposed to be a general one! Sorry!

  • CHGal

    Maybe I’m strange, but I kind of like this idea. I’m neither a passionate hippie or a frat boy, FYI.

    • FridayGirl

      I like this idea…. for $800 a month, not more than double that. It’s bad enough sharing a sink with one or two roommates…..

      • CHGal

        I think this only works if you’re someone who doesn’t cook. Also, I’d assme that’s why a cleaning service is built in.

      • INWDC

        I think what could make this concept interesting is if your “membership” to live here would allow you to move easily to their other locations. Like I’m gonna live in DC for a couple months, then move to NYC for a month, then onto wherever after that. Obviously, one would probably need minimal belongings but if all you have is bedroom then that kind of mitigates acquiring a lot of stuff. Still not for me, but could make it more tempting.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          It does do that. 24-hour notice to move to another community

  • Tsar of Truxton

    Sounds like a college dorm to me…

    • Caleb

      College dorms for college graduates in their mid 20s.

  • Anon

    Uh, so this is a rhetorical question, right? Because all the parent-funded artists/musicians I know who can get that much cash for rent are largely moving to Brooklyn, not DC.

  • INWDC

    This is basically wework for housing. Not for me (like at all) but clearly there’s a market for the share everything culture. There’s something like this in crystal city (in one of those grim office buildings).

  • textdoc

    This sounds like a glorified group house (though perhaps the infrastructure is already there for regular cleaning of shared areas).
    .
    For $1700 you could get a studio or one-bedroom apartment in many areas of the city. And you could probably get a room with a private bathroom in a group house for $1000-$1200/month, no?

    • Anonymous

      Possibly, but those options aren’t unambiguously superior to this one for everybody.

  • anon

    I think you are unnecessarily concerned. The price is quite steep for frat boy types, and this will likely draw adults who are so serious about their careers, and who are perhaps quite transient, that they don’t want to spend the time furnishing and making a home for themselves. Think of it as sort of like an AirB&B for non-tourists.

    • FridayGirl

      “The price is quite steep for frat boy types…”
      .
      I actually disagree with this statement. Have you seen the type of people who live in fancy apartments in some other neighborhoods? Frat boys with wealthy parents. I would like to think it wouldn’t be an issue but I could see where OP’s concern stems from….

      • Anon

        Yea, this is actually targeting the frat bros on a budget.

        • Bryan

          This is targeting start up “entrepreneurs” who have money.

    • AlphaClarendonOmega

      Besides, the real frat bros live in Clarendon anyways

      • Caleb

        Correct, straight frat bros are in Clarendon. No, this is for the DC gay frat bro types.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    This looks great. This is exactly the sort of place the city should be adding some housing density.

  • textdoc

    I looked at the website and it really sounds like a dorm for adults — the rooms are furnished and the utilities are all included. And there’s weekly cleaning of shared spaces.
    .
    It still sounds overpriced to me for what it is, but I can see the appeal.

  • PetworthGuy

    This is not the last you will see of this. WeWork already has a development like this in Crystal City called “WeLive” and it is getting a lot of praise. Caters to not only young professionals, but retirees and empty nesters as well. Most people liken it to a dorm, because that is the closest thing they have experienced to community living. People want a neighborhood/community feel like the suburbs, with all the conveniences of the city.

    • Anon

      Are retirees and empty nesters actually living in WeLive? I work nearby, and based on what I’ve seen online and in person it looks like it was designed specifically for young men.

    • Anon

      I’m also curious to know what suburban community feel you’re referring to. I’ve lived in a variety of suburbs, from the semi-urban to the almost-rural and everything in between, and have never experienced a sense of community. Suburbs are inherently an “every man for himself” kind of environment.

      • Bryan

        What kind of suburb did you live in? Every suburb I lived in had a massive sense of community. More so than in any building I have ever lived in in DC.

        • Bryan

          For instance back in the development my parents live in (about 60 miles outside of NYC in NJ) they have what is called the party rock on the cul de sac. Called so because 3-4 nights per week all the parents in cul de sac and other adjoining cul de sacs, bring over wine and beer and their kids if they want, hang outside drinking and talking. You get nothing like that in a city.

          • JS

            Wait, you think people in this city don’t hang out with their neighbors & kids while having beers and talking? Really?

  • Anonymous

    This actually sounds like a very good idea in a city where it seems like young professionals are constantly complaining about how hard it is to meet people and make friends. Obviously no guarantee that you’re going to like the other people in the house, but then again you’re not meeting anyone if you retreat every night to watch Netflix in your tiny studio. It’s not going to be for everyone at every stage of life but I can see the appeal for some people.

  • nw_dc_1988

    “but my neighbors are sort of worried what kind of people will come into the neighborhood – possibly young frat bro types”
    .
    Rolling my eyes so far back at this. We have much bigger issues here in Shaw than *gasp* frat bros! Let’s tackle this uptick in crime first.

    • Sarah

      OP here. We already have a similar set up on the alley and it’s a house of like 6 guys who throw huge loud parties on a regular basis. Red solo cups have become the tumbling tumble weeds of Richardson Place. Not to mention the uptick in vomit along the side walks and drunk people berating Uber drivers for “taking too long” to pick them up. Also, if it houses 24 people and there’s no dedicated parking existing residents are further inconvenienced. This just seems like bad location for such a large influx of people. It’s not about people who are different from me its about people who value living in the neighborhood as much as I do! Homelessness, crime, etc- are these a higher priority? Of course! But I think the project was ill-conceived.

  • spookiness

    I kind of like the concept. I’ve always thought some kind of geographically flexible arrangement, something between a hotel and a time-share would fly for someone who moved around a lot, or whose work moved them around seasonally. WeWork is interesting, and there is a new work-live building in Alexandria in a former office building. Historically, there were many different types of housing arrangements, but zoning wiped them away to lock in the primacy of the SFH.

    • CS

      So true – boarding houses used to be a thing.

      • Boarding houses were a thing before things were a thing. As in – normal life.

  • lucie

    I could see this working really well for professionals who are on short-term contracts here. Like, why rent a hotel for 2 months when you could have something where you have the option to cook your own meals, but no long-term lease or need to buy furniture you’ll just throw out? I can also see it as good for folks who split time between, say, DC and new york. It’s probably the same cost as getting a hotel room a couple nights a week, and you have the ability to leave clothes/other stuff.

  • AP

    Not a terrible idea, but seems a bit overpriced. I would like $1400-$1500 would be more reasonable.

  • Ashy Oldlady

    This is essentially a commune with a name that makes it sound more hip. And it’s not the first one around town.

    • OP Anon

      It’s a commune for capitalists (or housing for Housing for Generation Debt). Minus the rampant nudity and communal parenting.
      .
      That said, I bet these places end up having more drama than The Real World. What happens if someone eats your food? Has loud sex with randoms in the middle of the day while you’re on a conference call? Passes out drunk in the living room? With the quick turnover policy, you could have different “neighbors” everyday of the week. And then there’s the safety issues if you happen to share a living room and kitchen with a creeper.

      • Anon

        Heh, you seem to be at least 15 years older than the target demographic. I would’ve been all about it coming out of college.

      • “What happens?” With all of the above “Scary” scenarios? You just learn how to deal with life and all the messy/charming/maddening/delightful/obnoxious/tiresome/enchanting people that might come your way.

  • also anon

    No way. This sounds like a huge group house with all the associated annoyances of a group house x 24 bedrooms!

    • C_petworth

      I lived in a group house for 7 years when I first got to DC, Most people I know did as well because its hard to pay for a 1 bedroom when you are under 25 or 30 years old here. We were not loud or disrespectful and got along great with our neighbors. Also this is a city, meaning lots of different types of people all meet up on a small neighborhood and live., that means old people, people with families and young people. Its part of what makes the city a dynamic place to live. If you do not like living next to people who are different then you, you may live different lifestyles then you then DC might not be for you.

      • textdoc

        “We were not loud or disrespectful and got along great with our neighbors.” There’s quite a range among group houses as far as that kind of thing is concerned, though — some are good neighbors and some aren’t so good. So I can understand a neighbor being apprehensive.

      • also anon

        I’m going to assume you meant to reply to the original post and not my comment because I didn’t say anything about group houses being loud or disrespectful.

        • FridayGirl

          Agreed. When I read also anon’s post my first thought was annoyances such as people not throwing out old food, not doing dishes, talking loudly at 3am on a weeknight, etc.

  • Anonymous

    The New Yorker ran an article about a couple of similary-style buildings in New York back in May (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/05/16/the-rise-of-the-co-living-startup). The residents didn’t want to party as much as interact with other people without having to live in the standard group home, and the different floors of the buildings had different characteristics (e.g. some were all girls, some were for people who were very social, etc.). It didn’t sound like a frat house.

    • textdoc

      Thanks for the link!

    • Anon

      I think I’d prefer a large traditional apartment building with organized social events and activities for residents, rather than sharing a kitchen. It’s an interesting idea though. Maybe if I didn’t like cooking I’d be into it.

  • Build more everywhere

    This is what happens when you pass stupid overly restrictive zoning laws like DC did to the RF zones. Zoning allows only 2 units so this developer found a way around that. Ditto has a couple similar projects although not to this level of absurdity,

  • Shaw Guy

    Have you checked the zoning for this lot? It is entirely possible that it not zoned for a boarding house, which is what this essentially is. Given the number of work stoppages here I wouldn’t be shocked if owners were out of compliance again.

    • OP Anon

      Excellent point. Though the DC regs for boarding houses specifically require them to provide meals for patrons. This would not meet that aspect of the Board House license regulations. Does DC impose a limit on how many bedrooms can be rented out in a house to non-related individuals? My guess is that each of these facades are considered a SFH for purposes of DC code.

  • timmyp

    I feel like Kirk Van Houten should be living here

    • DCReggae

      Just listened to “Can I Borrow a Feeling?”

      • Tom

        So that’s how it is after 20 years, so long, good luck?

        I don’t recall saying good luck.

  • carol

    So what if frat boys do move in. you do not get to cherry pick your neighbors

    • Anon

      lol, you must not be from Lanier Heights

  • TropicBird

    Lived in an 8 bedroom group house in East Dupont (the old convent on 15th) and it was a great way to meet people! We had the livest Halloween and Drag Race parties! Thursdays were Seinfeld night.
    However I can tell you the weekly cleaning service for common areas will be sorely needed. Any kitchen pots or pans you bring will get all scratched up. Also there will be some jerk that plays music too loud and rides his skateboard on the walls. One that sneaks in loud smelly pets. One that smokes weed indoors. One that loudly breaks up with his girlfriend. One of our housemates moved out and left a bag of onions in his kitchen cupboard that actually liquified, nobody could figure out where the fruit flies were coming from.

  • Pre-fab housing is actually a really sensible and efficient means of new construction. It does not have to be poorly designed boxes “plopped together.”

    • Bryan

      Not to nit pick….but if it is “efficient” I’d expect it not to cost just a few hundred dollars less than a studio apartment. Sorry this is not a model of efficiency. This is just catering gentrification to a specific age bracket.

  • Rob

    Good location, but you could get a decent studio and an air mattress for $1700 a month in the same area. I think it is a good business model, somewhere between a hostel and a short lease, but if someone is willing to pay $1700 rent alone(assuming couples can’t split one unit), you would think they would prefer some stability, quiet, and privacy.

  • navyard

    I like the concept and think i would like it. I’d actually rather be in a dorm room and have a meal plan because I hate cooking and cleaning THAT much!

    I’m definitely not the young male demographic they’re looking for though

  • w

    not the prettiest building, but definitely not a monstrosity.

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