Sunday 21 July 2019

Global co-living giant targets Dublin with plan for 5,000 beds

Germany's Medici Living Group sees property potential in 'innovative country'

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Collins
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Collins

Michael Cogley, Business Correspondent

One of the world's largest co-living providers intends to bring more than 5,000 new beds to Dublin over the next five years, the Sunday Independent has learned.

Germany's Medici Living Group, which operates under the Quarters brand, is in the process of building out a massive co-living portfolio across Europe.

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It is the latest company to set its sights on the Irish market after housing minister Eoghan Murphy amended guidelines to allow for co-living, which typically includes self-sufficient bedrooms sharing living and kitchen spaces.

A spokesman for the Berlin-based company said it will open "much more than five" buildings in the coming years.

"We are interested in expanding to Ireland after the positive ruling for co-living," he said.

"As Ireland is a growing, dynamic, forward-looking and innovative country with a tech hub (Dublin) and at the centre of Europe, we can see that our members and future members would be very interested in living there," the spokesman added.The company also said that easy-to-access high standard affordable accommodation in the city centre is "less accessible, especially to international renters".

"As we propose an alternative to removing traditional properties from the housing market and house short term as well as long-term tenants, we like to fit into markets where we can ease existing pressure on the market," the spokesman said.

Medici is looking to open co-living buildings in Dublin's Rathmines, College Green, Ballsbridge, the Liberties, North Wall, Portobello, and the Docklands.

The company said that Dublin's position as a tech hub was "unlikely to change" and that it was investing here as a result.

In December, Luxembourg-based Corestate Capital agreed to a Europe-wide co-operation with Medici to invest around €1bn of equity and debt in a massive co-living portfolio of 6,500 rooms.

While pricing for Dublin has yet to be agreed the company aims to be "20pc cheaper than standard studio apartments".

It follows the entry of UK-based The Collective into the shared living market.

Medici typically has anything from 50 to 300 beds in one building. Each kitchen is shared by between three and five bedrooms. Customers must sign up to rent for a minimum of three months and can then renew that on a monthly basis.

Roam, another shared living operator, also said recently that it was exploring Dublin as a potential location following on from the ruling to allow such developments here.

The company's chief executive, Bruno Haid, was critical of the Government's guidelines on shared living. "Part of why we haven't found a property that's a good match yet is that we haven't seen the quality and thoughtfulness necessary to not only make the trade-off between smaller personal studios and better shared spaces work, but a superior experience," he said.

"A lot of it feels indeed rushed and optimised for the developer's interest, and not the tenant's. So we can relate to the criticism current schemes are facing."

Meanwhile WeLive, the co-living arm of WeWork, said it had "no plans" to open operations in Ireland.

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