WeLive, the communal housing project created by co-working office space giant WeWork, officially launched today. Finally, young wealthy people in New York City and near Washington, D.C. can relive their college days and reside together in very close quarters with other young wealthy people! May the entrepreneurial genius of the startup world never burn out.
For the hefty starting prices of $1,375 for an individual bed, $2,000 for a private room, and $2,550 for a studio, you can be one of the first people to try out the what future generations will likely point to as “the day everything went to shit.” Throw in an extra $125 and you’ll find yourself with high-speed internet, snazzy Bose speakers, a lot of beer, and “wellness classes.”
The New York spaces—located at 110 Wall Street, in the crotch of Manhattan—are fully furnished and include perks like on-site laundry and “robust social offerings,” also known as “the chance to hang out with other rich idiots.” According to the company’s blog post, the idea behind the setup is simple: “WeLive challenges conventional apartment living by creating homes within a community that are designed to bring people together.” Translation: “We are taking the admirable idea of co-op living and charging a lot of money for it.”
In defense of this practice, WeWork co-founder Miguel McKelvey told Forbes that it was all relative, bro. “Cheapest option is all relative,” he said. “A desk for $350 a month in a common area is not as cheap as a coffee shop. But a lot of people would say they’re empowered by that environment in a way that makes it worth it.”
Well, sure. But there are other, cheaper options for living in New York City. You could rent a room in a three-bedroom apartment in the same area for around $1,250, for example. Or you could live in Harlem with a few roommates for less than that. Or you could even try a different, slightly cheaper co-living arrangement.
The intent of spaces like WeLive, it seems, isn’t to provide affordable shared housing—it’s to create a sense of “community” and then charge exorbitant amounts of money for it. But there are plenty of ways to create community—joining a local food co-op, a book group at the library, or, you know, talking to your goddamn neighbors—without having to move into an overpriced college dorm to do it. And even then, there’s no guarantee tenants will get what they signed up for, because individual bodies create community, not fancy cookware and well-stocked beer fridges.
On the other hand, if someone wants to extend a guest invitation, I’m happy to come over and drink all of that beer. You know, for the community.