Activity in the co-living sector is starting to pick up with expansion announcements from Starcity and Ollie.

Starcity’s European Foray Begins in Barcelona

After exploring the European market for a year, California-based co-living company, Starcity announced a joint venture with Barcelona Homes, a family-owned company with more than 175,000 square feet of multi-family properties in Barcelona. The partnership will develop co-living housing in urban centers around Spain.

In selecting Barcelona as the launch destination in Europe, Starcity is selecting a prime urban location with housing affordability issues, which is attractive for co-living development.

“Rents in Barcelona have risen over 50% since 2013, and the local middle-class is being driven out of the city center. There’s a clear need for dense yet comfortable, inviting homes that bring people closer to jobs,” noted Mo Sakrani, Starcity’s Co-founder and Chief Investment Officer.

Esteve Almirall, Starcity’s Managing Director and a stakeholder of Barcelona Homes, will lead the Barcelona expansion. He said that the goal of the partnership is to innovate within the multi-family space and bring coliving to Barcelona renters who need a better experience.

Starcity will replicate its strategy of converting existing buildings that are in need of renovation. Barcelona will be the focus for the next 12 months with the team projected to operate 150 beds by the end of the year. It will leverage Barcelona Homes’s existing multi-family portfolio. After Barcelona, the company will move to another market in Spain, most likely Madrid.

“Barcelona and Madrid are two of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe, but the focus of major co-living brands has largely been on the U.K., Germany, and The Netherlands to date. We’re excited to be the first to start serving this part of Europe under a full-service approach in which we own, develop and operate coliving spaces,” noted Almirall.

Ollie’s West Coast Expansion

Co-living company Ollie is expanding into California after reaching agreements for two multi-family properties consisting of over 500 bedrooms, one in Los Angeles scheduled to open in 2020 and another in San Francisco scheduled to open in 2023.

After a leadership change earlier this year, the company has narrowed its focus to key markets as it seeks to create a more sustainable business model. The plan is to grow in Los Angeles and the Bay Area markets over the next few years.

Ollie manages 7 properties, representing over 1,500 bedrooms across 5 metro areas (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston and Pittsburgh).


photo credit: Starcity

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