Dorms for Adults: Office Space converted to Co-Living Apartments

New York is looking to implement this to put vacant offices to use. Would you rent a home with a shared kitchen and bathroom?



Not now, but I did 50 years ago.



I did too, 50 years ago. Lived in a house with an Asian guy who loved to cook. We had a deal: I bought the food, he prepared a meal every night, and he was goooood. I learned much from him, but mostly I ate well. Ah, good times.


Sometimes my wife has a hard time sharing a kitchen and a bathroom with me. I have trouble imagining someone I haven’t been with for over half a century being willing to.


Back in the 70’s during school term I ran (and was co-dictator) of a Boarding House with 16 inmates. We shared two bathrooms and one kitchen, and all of them begged to be forgiven, paying fines with little whining, when they trangressed and were threatened with exile. During summers I twice lived in “communes” of the Hippy sort as my only means of living near great surfing one summer and prime political organizing turf the other; both times I declared myself the “benevolent absolute dictator” to immense relief, better eating, and vastly improved sanitation.

Living relationships of all sorts are possible but need a workable polity. For couples and families that is one thing (with strong genetically formed tendencies), hopefully amiable, but for all other communities it is far more vexed.

david fb


As this goes nationwide, MTV will provide cameras for additional production value.

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I’ve told this story before but it seems timely so forgive the repeat…for a while developers in Seattle were allowed to build small apartments with shared kitchens, typically one per floor. Utilities are almost always included in rent. They were hugely popular with residents, especially more transient residents who didn’t have a lot of stuff, and you didn’t have to hassle with getting the utilities turned on. They were also popular with developers because while the rent was cheap per unit, on a square foot basis they cost as much as luxury apartments. I think there is definitely a niche for something like this.


In a post-Covid mostly WFH world, one of my former employers is trying to sell its 2 2-football field long, 3-4 story buildings due to limited RTO and reductions in force (early retirements) - they no longer want the 350,000 square feet of 15 year old high performance high end office space. It would be absolutely doable for that space to be converted to something like this - not full, but apartments with shared kitchens. The town doesn’t need that much homeless / low income housing space thankfully, but reserving / sectioning off a section for that could certainly help. But I wonder who they think is going to buy it for the appraised $70 million?


That’s only a relatively small part of the issue. Even if the price were only $50M, the big question is - who will provide the financing? Banks won’t touch it. Private debt maybe, but the rates will be too high to make the deal work.