The real opportunity for co-living

John Wagner George Sell Uploaded

The term co-living is a misunderstood one - although there are operators out there with an international product aimed at high income global nomads, this demographic is unlikely to be big enough to support a fast-growing industry.

The real potential for traction, in Europe at least, lies further down the price scale with transient workers in more humble, but often vital roles.

Irish developer Bartra has been quick to see the potential here. Rather than targetting globetrotting creative types, it is developing four Dublin projects aimed at temporary workers in industries such as health, construction and retail. People who are unlikely to be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment in the city, but who are essential to keeping Dublin’s economy ticking along.

Under Irish government guidelines, co-living is restricted to areas close to the city centre, acute hospitals or high concentrations of employment. It targets areas where private rental demand, and single dwellers in particular, are prevalent.

These projects will target a niche which in the US is filled by the economy extended stay hotel brands - brands which have yet to raise a flag in Europe.

Bartra chief executive Mike Flannery sees “a strong and sustainable demand” for the concept, accommodating workers coming to Dublin from other countries and other parts of Ireland, working on six- to 12-month contracts. He said an agency for one multinational employer was seeking a total accommodation supply with a rent roll of €5 million annually for employees and contractors, including international staff on secondment.

Flannery is keen to meet that demand and other co-living operators will not be far behind.


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