Young Professionals Can Now Pay to Live With a Brooklyn Artist

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 19, 2016 Newswire

A screencap of Common's website. Click to enlarge.

A screencap of Common’s website. Click to enlarge.

We received this email from a tipster about Common, a new real estate typology that rents furnished bedrooms to transitory young professionals alongside communal “beautifully curated spaces” for a monthly membership fee:

If you haven’t heard about Common, they use private equity money to empty out rent stabilized or otherwise rental buildings, and replace it with “common living spaces” where residents pay $1800/month for short term living. They do not go outside for ANYTHING (including laundry or to buy cleaning supplies, because they have people cleaning their homes for them.) It’s very odd.
In any case, in their new Albany [avenue] space, in order to create a creative “climate” the space is advertised as “coming with its very own artist.” I don’t want to critique this particular artist for making this choice, but to me it seems like an odd commodification of art to drive gentrification on Albany.
Yes, pretty much everything about Common’s three locations (should we be bracing ourselves for more?) seems odd. The amenities list includes so many extracurricular activities and talk of “community” building that their sales pitch sounds like orientation day at small-town college dorm. Or a cult.
Basically, Common claims they provide an affordable model of co-living compared to traditional apartments:
Common Pie Chart

Via Common’s website.

I for one can’t really understand how someone’s monthly “cleaning and laundry” budget is equal to one’s “furnishing” budget or who in their right mind would pay the equivalent of those two combined in broker fees to live in Crown Heights, but yes… based on this math $1,900 to live in The Real World house with other yuppies sure looks like a good deal! Except that according to the latest MNS Brooklyn Rental Market Report the average cost of a one bedroom apartment in Crown Heights is actually about $100 cheaper than the base membership fee/rent to join Common. Your very own studio (sans curated common spaces, sadly) costs about $1,616 (still overpriced, but a relative bargain). So let’s not pretend this model is the solution to the city’s affordability crisis. Let’s call it what it is: “fun” accommodations for the pampered young people who want to try-out living in Brooklyn for a few months without signing a lease or making their own friends outside of scheduled activities like sunrise dance parties. screencap common two

Plus, it wouldn’t be an authentic stint in Brooklyn if you didn’t have a bohemian neighbor. Even better if you get to share a kitchen with one! It’s just like living in a warehouse loft, except someone else cleans for you. To which I say congratulations to musician Elliot LaRue, the first Commons artist-in-residence at the Albany Avenue house. He describes himself as “The New Yorker from Texas” and appropriately has a song titled “My City”. In the gentrified wastelands of not-so-distant future New York, we’ll all be looking for gigs like this. Even if it means sitting through a game of Jenga with aspiring tech-bro-transplants from Ohio.

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