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World's Largest Co-Living Development Coming to San Jose

The communal living opportunity for San Jose residents was made possible by the creation of an entirely new designation in the city's zoning code.
June 15, 2019, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sarah Holder reports on the biggest project yet from developer Starcity, an 18-story building with 803 units in Downtown San Jose, California. The catch: Starcity develops buildings for co-living arrangements, already completing seven projects in Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"In most Starcity buildings, renters get a furnished 130- to 220-square-foot bedroom and share a communal kitchen and living space," writes Holder. "In a [sic] addition to a “generous bathroom to room ratio,” the company touts a range of Millennial-friendly amenities, including an honor library, 'locally sourced foliage,' and Bob Ross painting nights. Rents range from $1,400 to $2,400 a month."

According to Holder, the development proposed for San Jose would be the world's largest co-living building in the world.

Holder parlays the discussion about the new Starcity project to discussions about Starcity's many contemporaries trying to make the old model of single-room occupancy hotels (SROs) new for the 21st century.

Starcity considers itself distinct from SROs, however, in how it uses each building, as Curbed SF reported: "95 percent of the usable square footage in an SRO is renters’ rooms, with the remaining five percent mostly hallways. By comparison, a Starcity building is about 65 percent bedrooms, and 20 percent of the building is dedicated to ‘communal spaces and kitchens.’” And renters commit to living there longer than the transient characters who once bunked at week-to-week boarding houses…

As noted by Holder, the new model for communal living also breaks the mold of most zoning codes, including in San Jose. Starcity had to work with the city to create an entirely new form of land use: "co-living." While Starcity's previous developments used zoning classifications already in existence in those cities, the San Jose experience offered a chance to be the first-ever use of the co-living zoning classification, according to Holder.

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Published on Friday, June 7, 2019 in CityLab
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