The 10-story building may look like a hotel, but it is thought to be the world’s biggest large-scale house-share, offering modest rooms and upscale services for hundreds of young adults caught in London’s housing crisis.
The Old Oak building, situated on a canal bank in northwest London, opened in the spring of last year, and has become a pioneer of “co-living”, a concept that is beginning to catch on elsewhere, notably in the United States.
“Today in cities, we don’t know our neighbors, housing is more and more expensive. We’re living behind our devices and this is addressing that challenge,” said Ryan Fix, consultant at The Collective, the project’s developer.
This was no niche market, he insisted: “It’s going to be a massive movement in the coming decades.”
Ed Thomas, who manages the property for The Collective, offers a tour of the 546-room building and its facilities.
“You’ve got a nice spacious room with a big window that lets lots of light in,” he said as he showed a room measuring 12 square meters.
All of the rooms are currently occupied.
Some have a tiny en suite bathroom, with a small wash basin placed almost over the toilet, and a kitchenette. In others, the cooking and washroom areas are shared.
Yoga and cinema
The Old Oak boasts high-end facilities such as a spa, gym, library, work room, restaurant and even a cinema, which is packed for evening showings of the hit TV series Game of Thrones.
There are also communal activities on offer, such as music evenings and yoga classes.
The majority of the Old Oak’s current tenants are young people aged between 22 and 35 earning an average of $40,000 a year – who might otherwise be sharing a cramped house with strangers.
It is common for Londoners to spend”40 to 50 percent of their net salary” on housing, said James Mannix, a partner at estate agency Knight Frank.
“It is extremely difficult to find a place to rent in London and young people are increasingly marginalized,” said The Collective’s Ed Thomas.
“It is very time-consuming, and even once you move into somewhere, the chances that you find a group of people that you get along with are extremely slim. We’re trying to tackle that problem.”
The majority of the rooms cost between $1,120 and $1,450 per month, but that includes all bills (energy, internet, cleaning, taxes and common facilities). The largest are advertised at more than $1,850.
Sarah Sinigaglia, a 19-year-old Italian-Swiss student newly arrived in London, said: “It’s very easy to meet people. In the evening, you can go downstairs … to the lobby or the bar, and there are lots of people like me who are alone.”
literature source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/newsrepublic/2017-10/20/content_33509805.htm
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