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Millennials Need Only A Toothbrush To Move Into New 'Co-Living' Apartments

By Alisa Hauser | July 19, 2017 9:47am | Updated on July 22, 2017 8:51am
 Common's first co-living space in Chicago, at Damen and Chicago avenues.
The Common Building Co-Living Opens
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UKRAINIAN VILLAGE —  A co-living startup called Common that's targeting millennials has opened its first Chicago building in Ukrainian Village, offering intrepid renters a shared apartment with everything included — even the roommates.

The New York City chain's first entry into Chicago is in a four-story white concrete, steel and glass three-unit apartment building dubbed "Common Damen" across from Mariano's grocery store in the 2000 block of West Chicago Avenue.

Individual rents in the four-bedroom, two-bath apartments range from $1,325 to $1,675 per room.

All furnishings (beds, couches, etc.) are included in the rent, as well as utilities, cable, high-speed WiFi, in-unit laundry, a cleaning service every other week, and an on-site group leader who organizes events like potluck dinners, yoga and book clubs.

 The kitchen in Common.
The kitchen in Common.
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Courtesy of Common

The building features front and back balconies in each unit and a shared rooftop deck with views of the Downtown skyline.

The master suite bedroom, one in each of the Casablanca's three apartments, is geared toward couples and has a large private bathroom and private deck.

The building's developer, David Herrera and principal of Golden Mean, touts that the 1,600-square-foot apartments are move-in ready and all renters need to bring with them are a toothbrush and clothes.

Herrera also says that renters "don't need to worry about matching their lease dates with other renters or gathering a group to be able to afford the place."

“Renters are able to walk right in and have many of the things it could take years to establish — a place in a great neighborhood, access to their workplace and popular destinations, a core social network. For people who are mobile, professional, and have other priorities besides owning property, this is an ideal solution," Herrera said.

On a tour Tuesday, Herrera told DNAinfo that he's leasing his building to Common through a long-term agreement with the option to renew. Common is responsible for finding the tenants, which it subleases in three-, six- or 12-month leases.

The 34-year-old Herrera, a millennial himself who grew up in the neighborhood, serves as treasurer of the Ukrainian Village Neighbors Association. He shares a work space with U.S. congressional candidate Benjamin Wolf in a ground-floor office below the apartments.

In December of 2015, Herrera demolished a vintage two-flat his parents had owned since 1984 to build Casablanca, initially as an apartment building named "Casablanca" that he would manage. After being approached by Common this spring, Herrera decided to switch gears.

"I think it's good for the neighborhood. The co-living trend is new. There is one other building in Logan Square that offers co-living in parts of its building, and we are the first all co-living building," Herrera said.

Hererra added, "My parents have been here since 1962, and I grew up here. I've seen gentrification before my eyes."

In addition to Chicago and New York City, where Common offers several co-living spots, the startup recently launched in San Francisco an D.C. and other large cities.

“The biggest misunderstanding of co-living is people think it’s this totally new crazy and radical thing. It’s not. People have been living with roommates for a really long time. That’s how so many people in cities live,” Common founder Brad Hargreaves said in an interview with the Guardian. “Really what we are doing is just taking this way of living and making it better, designing an experience for what people are already doing.”

Applying to live at Common includes an application, background check, financial check, and an interview. There is no roommate matching system, according to a spokeswoman.

Tours started this week for new tenants. For more information, visit Common's website.

The center building at 2048 W. Chicago Ave. offers shared apartments. [Photos by DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

The balcony. [Provided]

Kitchen and hallway. [Provided]

The shared living area comes furnished. [Photos by DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]

Skyline view from a window above the bed in the master bedroom suite.

The master suite bathroom.