[THE INVESTOR] Co-living, a flexible, community-driven housing, is heating up in big cities with high rents and few affordable housing options. The operators, mostly startups, offer fully furnished apartments, common areas and a sense of belonging. That’s why they are often called “dorms for grown-ups.”
In Korea where the concept is still brand new, co-living spaces are getting a luxury upgrade to appeal to young professionals, with big companies jumping into the market.
“Mutual trust is the key to co-living. In this nascent market, big companies can guarantee that trust,” Kim Hee-sun, general manager of Kolon Global, construction unit of Korean conglomerate Kolon Group, told The Investor in a recent interview.
Treehouse's largest penthouse loft suit
Kolon is one of the Korean builders that have launched their own co-living brands in recent years. While most of their projects are aimed at offering fashionable housing at cheaper prices, the firm is carrying out a fancier experiment by opening a new eight-story luxury complex in Gangnam, one of the city’s most coveted residential areas, in October.
The Treehouse consists of 72 fully furnished studios equipped with different styling themes. Unique features include a co-working space, a rooftop terrace, a common kitchen, a movie theater and pet park and wash services.
Unlike other co-living startups that lease some floors in a building, Kolon designed and built the whole complex for co-living from the beginning. Considering the huge land costs in the Gangnam area that made up more than 50 percent of the construction cost, Kim said, it was also a project only few big companies can try.
“Co-living business is not just about the building but also about its operation. We have worked on the project over the past two years with professionals from different sectors,” she added, saying a residential manager who speaks English will oversee the overall maintenance and arrange activities for tenants.
Treehouse's common space