UK-Based Co-Living Operator Expands NYC Footprint

The Collective made its third investment in the city by acquiring the Paper Factory Hotel in Queens, which will be converted into a short-stay co-living facility.
The Paper Factory Hotel

London-based The Collective, which operates the world’s largest co-living building, has made its third investment in the New York City area in sixth months—totaling $150 million—with the acquisition of the Paper Factory Hotel in Long Island City, N.Y. The property changed ownership for $58 million, according to Bisnow. It will be transformed into a co-living environment with a restaurant, nightclub and lounge, event and work spaces and more than 200 short-term stay units.

The 100-year-old Paper Factory Hotel will become The Collective’s first operational project in the U.S. and will feature the worldwide debut of the company’s short-stay co-living model. Members will be able to stay from one night to several weeks, with all amenities, utilities, Wi-Fi, linen change and concierge services for one fee. The firm is starting with 125 bedrooms in the initial phase and will add more than 100 units on the upper floors next year.

“As Paper Factory is a hotel by typology, short-stay is the extent of our plans for now,” Samantha Garfield, U.S. communications and growth lead for The Collective, told Multi-Housing News.

The Collective History

Founder & CEO Reza Merchant opened The Collective Old Oak in London in 2016. It was the company’s first co-living project and the world’s largest, purpose-built co-living development.  In October, Merchant introduced his concept to the U.S. with a plan to construct a $450 million co-living community at 555 Broadway on the border of the Williamsburg and Bushwick neighborhoods of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Last week, the company announced the acquisition of a site at 1215 Fulton St. in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood for another co-living project. The property, located at the site of the former home of the Slave Theater, was acquired with Tower Holdings Group.

Garfield said the 1215 Fulton St. location is expected to open in late 2021 and the flagship location at 555 Broadway is slated for a 2022 opening. Asked whether short-stay units would be included in the two Brooklyn locations, she said the firm is still in the early stages of planning and design and could not reveal conclusive details. She added the short-stay model will be an important component of the business going forward.

“Each of our projects aims to create unprecedented flexibility and convenience for members and the general public alike,” Garfield said.

The Collective Old Oak in London has standard membership of nine and 12 months and a limited number of four- and six-month memberships, Garfield said.

The 555 Broadway location is expected to have a market hall, restaurant, community gardens, wellbeing center and rooftop pool in addition to offering co-living accommodations and cultural events. Programs in urban innovation and entrepreneurship are also planned for the site. 1215 Fulton St. will also have events, classes and workshops with a focus on culture and the arts.

The Collective plans to grow its current portfolio of 7,500 units to at least 100,000 units by 2025. It is targeting another 10 projects in New York City over the next 12 months.

“Queens and Brooklyn are just the first steps on our exciting U.S. journey,” Merchant said in a prepared statement. “In today’s increasingly global, mobile and access-driven society, we are becoming citizens of the world rather than citizen of a particular country. The network of locations that we’re building and activating will unlock for people the freedom they crave to work, live, explore and enjoy on their terms.”

Image courtesy of The Collective