NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) - As San Diego County grapples with a housing crisis, a new apartment complex in National City promises low rent if you don't mind living close to your neighbors.
In some cases, "living close" means sharing a bathroom, kitchen, and other communal spaces.
"We wanted to try and make a luxury experience for a workforce housing price point," says Andrew Malick, the CEO Of Malick Infill Development.
His company just opened Common at Parco apartments on 8th Street and B Street in National City. Converted from an old warehouse, Common at Parco has 150 units to rent. Most are traditional studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments.
But around a quarter of the units are considered "communal living" suites. Those are three and four-bedroom suites that come fully furnished.
"You sign a lease in a shared space," explains Malick. "You would get your own bedroom, in some cases your own bathroom, but you share a kitchen and a living room. So that's co-living."
Developers believe this complex is the first "co-living" option in San Diego. Rooms in those spaces rent for as little as $959 per month. Other apartments follow market-rate prices.
To maximize the number of units in the complex and keep rent affordable, Malick says his design cut back on square footage in each unit. Instead, his design incorporates large windows, high ceilings, and outdoor spaces like patios and balconies to make each apartment feel more spacious.
"We spent a lot of time and energy on this project making a small unit feel large," says Malick, who spent most of his adult life living in tiny studio apartments and wanted to help young professionals feel less cramped in their homes.
That's why the complex features four large community areas available for all residents to use. They feature amenities that don't fit in the small apartments, like big-screen TVs and full-sized kitchens. One lounge on the top floor even offers views of San Diego Bay.
Malick says those areas allow residents to host large parties for holidays and family events.
To enhance the "communal" feel of the complex, the laundry room doubles as a game room with a ping-pong table and video game system. There is also a co-working space in the lobby with desks and wifi.
To add more value, the co-living units come with house-keeping services for the common areas.
Residents say the building offers a "perfect" combination of affordability and luxury.
"It's everything that anyone could want," says Victoria Anthony, who rents a studio apartment in the building. She moved to San Diego earlier this year to pursue an MMA career. Coming from Phoenix, the cost of living in San Diego surprised her.
"The prices here are so much higher," Anthony says. "Finding this place was a relief. They told me the prices, and I thought, 'This is amazing.' I put in my application that day."
Anthony isn't the only one trying to take advantage of the low rent. The complex has only been accepting inquiries for a month, but more than 1,000 people have already applied.
For the co-living suites, Malick says tenants can apply as a group with roommates. If they don't, the complex puts tenants together after a complete background check.
Common is the property manager of the complex. According to their spokesperson, Common is the largest co-living operator in the United States. They manage more than 6,400 units in 12 cities, with more in development.
Malick says these kinds of complexes are the future of housing development in the County.
"As San Diego urbanizes, we're growing up," he says. "We simply can't build any more single-family homes. This project shows how we can build workforce housing and make it an attractive solution."
To apply, or for more information, visit the Common at Parco website here.