Starcity, a community-based living startup company, recently announced that it has secured approval from the cities of San Francisco and San Jose for two large-scale purpose-built coliving projects.

Purpose-built Coliving Communities contain furnished private bedrooms and private bathrooms, directly accessible off a common hallway along with generously-sized communal cooking, dining, lounge, and laundry spaces offered on a floor-by-floor basis. Communities also include best-in-class community-wide amenities integrated throughout the building such as roof terraces, co-working spaces, and bicycle facilities.

The San Francisco community is Starcity Minna, a 270-unit high-rise planned for Minna & 5th Streets in the centrally-located SoMa area of San Francisco. The San Jose project is called Starcity San Jose. It is an 803-unit high-rise planned for downtown San Jose, three blocks from San Pedro Square and a short walk to Diridon Station.

Both projects are slated to open in 2021.

Designed by Emeryville, CA-based Brick Architecture, Starcity Minna will be the largest coliving project in San Francisco. It will boast 270 coliving units, 50% of which will be priced at deed-restricted below market rates starting as low as $850. The project, set to break ground in early 2020, does not have a general contractor yet.

Jon Dishotsky, Starcity CEO and co-founder, told me that for the Minna project they are “contemplating certain modular components for the building that can be seamlessly integrated on-site with a steel superstructure.”

The San Jose project will be the largest coliving development in the world when complete, says Dishotsky. Rents will be targeted below 110% area median income. A defining feature of the building's program is the notion of "vertical neighborhoods," where multiple residential floors are internally linked by centrally-located large, double-height communal spaces and terraces with interconnecting stairs. A broad array of residents from multiple floors can interact and engage with one another socially within the building's various communal spaces.

The architect for Starcity San Jose is Portland, Oregon-based C2K Architects, interiors are being done by Brick Architecture, and the contractor is Webcor.

The typical communal amenities included on each floor are media rooms, chef style kitchens, and both large group and more intimate dining areas. Building-wide amenities will include a multi-level 5,000 sq-ft fitness center, bike storage, bike share, & repair facilities, skyline-facing roof terrace, co-working spaces, subterranean parking, and food & beverage oriented retail offerings on the ground floor.

Starcity has been closely working with San Jose on an amendment to the city's planning code to add “Coliving” as a formally recognized use category, distinct from Multi-Family and other conventional residential uses. This is the first dedicated Coliving zoning code to be established in the US. Other cities facing a similar affordability crisis will be able to follow suit and adopt similar zoning legislation in order to encourage new and more sustainable types of housing.

The Coliving ordinance amendment went before and unanimously passed city council last February and became effective on April 12th. This allowed Starcity’s project to move forward with an entitlement change from the previously approved multi-family project (by KT Urban) to a truly purpose-built Coliving development. Starcity resubmitted a project application to the city in late April and formally received project approvals on May 29th at the Planning Director’s Hearing. The project is now formally entitled to development.