Bungalow, a fast-growing company that focuses on converting existing residences to co-living spaces, announced today that it is officially launching in San Francisco.
In a statement, the company said that it expects to have more than 30 rooms available in 10 properties by the end of the month. Those properties will be spread out across the Mission, the Castro, Noe Valley and other neighborhoods.
By the end of this year, Bungalow hopes to have more than 150 rooms in 40 San Francisco properties. Overall, Bungalow operates more than 500 properties with 2,000 total rooms across the U.S.
Bungalow co-founder CEO Andrew Collins told Inman that he had the idea for Bungalow after moving to San Francisco in 2010. The move was a challenge, Collins said, because he initially lacked a community. That experience later helped him decide to work on a company that would make renting both cheaper and more focused on community.
Collins described the original concept behind Bungalow as bringing a “Four Seasons or Nordstrom type of experience” to housing.
Bay Area-based Bungalow officially launched in 2017 and today operates in numerous cities including Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Chicago. The company was already running properties in the Bay Area prior to Thursday’s announcement, though it is only now entering San Francisco proper.
According to Collins, one of the things that sets Bungalow apart from other co-living providers is that his company focuses on converting existing homes.
That allows Bungalow to bring new rooms online more quickly than if they were building them from scratch, and Collins believes it makes the properties more appealing.
“It allows us to enter the more desirable neighborhoods at a more accessible price point than if we were building,” he added. “If you look at our price points, they’re actually really affordable compared to a studio to or a new build.”
Prices for rooms in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, range from just over $1,000 to just over $2,200.
Collins said Bungalow operates co-living units in apartments, brownstones, duplexes, townhomes and other types of properties. The unifying factor among these properties is that they were all designed to be the kinds of residences people actually desire to live in, not just functional places to stay.
“People don’t want to live in adult dorms, they want to live in homes,” Collins argued. “We really sort of hit wildfire focusing on that.”
Collins added that Bungalow avoids creating dorm-like environment by converting existing homes. Such properties typically have a maximum of five bedrooms and are located in residential neighborhoods, unlike the commercial buildings with dozens of rooms that other co-living operators offer.
Collins also said that while Bungalow’s clientele skews toward younger working professionals, the company’s properties include residents that span age ranges and industries.
Bungalow’s expansion comes amid a growing interest in co-living. Companies such as Starcity, Common and WeLive (a sister company of WeWork) have all rushed into the market with various takes on compact urban living that walks line between an apartment and a hotel. In most cases, these companies’ provide residents with a private room, common living spaces, and varying degrees of housekeeping.
Such companies have proven an attractive housing alternative for urban dwellers contending with skyrocketing rents, and for investors — who have poured fortunes into the sector.
In Bungalow’s case, the company has raised a total of $64 million in funding to date. And though the company is young, Collins said that residents have responded positively and pushed for expansion.
“Really it was our residents in other properties asking us for San Francisco,” he said. “It was that outpouring of customer feedback that had us launch it.”
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