In a bid to thrive in the New York City rental market, where competition is stiff and property scarce, one property management and investment company is shining. The NYC-based Ollie created “micro-housing” with parallels to the hotel and hospitality industry and targeting millennials. “Micro-housing” refers to small, compact, efficient apartments that take up minimal precious NYC real estate but offer everything needed to live comfortably. Even cable and Wi-Fi are included in the monthly rental fee.
Ollie takes the micro-living concept one step further, too, setting itself apart from other micro-housing operators by offering a few extra perks: weekly housekeeping services, for one. In fact, it provides several other “hotel-style” amenities too, including provision of fresh towels, linens and even regular restocking of toiletries, like bottles of shampoo and conditioner as well as toilet paper. All of these perks are included in the rental fee.
Originally, the concept was developed to appeal to New York millennials living on a budget and too busy working to attend to housekeeping details. However, operators were soon pleasantly surprised to see baby boomers flocking to the micro-housing units. Approximately 50 percent of Ollie’s tenants are currently made up of younger baby boomers who are able to live independently and don’t require the kinds of intensive services provided by senior homes. It seems that the concept is the ideal “transition” stage housing for this demographic.
Why does micro-housing seem to be attracting young baby boomers? Cambridge Realty Capital Companies Chairman Jeffrey Davis sees the appeal. “These individuals and couples are retired and no longer need or want big homes and all of the maintenance and upkeep that comes with them. They are often also ready to give up car ownership in favor of walking or using public transit, and so living closer to amenities is necessary. Micro-housing offers them the opportunity to adopt the transition-type urban lifestyle they are looking for.”
Not only does the Ollie model of housing meet the needs of young baby boomers, it allows them to continue living in the type of multi-generational environment which they are used to and which they appreciate and value. Ollie’s hotel-style apartments do attract many millennials, but tenants range in age from twenty-somethings to those who are into their eighties. Renters of all ages appreciate the communal feel and the security and safety that the closeness provides them.
Davis sees this housing model catching on in the coming years, particularly in dense urban areas like New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. Not only does it work in a multi-generational setting, but it may be a model that will be adopted by senior housing providers and marketed as the ideal transition-stage housing for active seniors. “For those who want to rid themselves of the rigors and expenses of home and car maintenance and want to stay active in their communities and remain independent well into their twilight years, urban micro-housing is an ideal solution.”