It’s becoming one of the capital’s most-sought-after residential destinations. An upscale co-working space called 68 Tank has moved into a former house in Georgetown, and two blocks away, 919 Tenley Circle is expanding. The trend is giving several large tech companies and startup founders the ability to expand within walking distance of the District’s transit system.
But subletting a 919 Tenley Circle office suite on a one-year lease–you know, the sort a twentysomething may be clamoring for at this point in their careers–comes with a steep catch: to live within a 30-minute radius of the space. At least for now, that means residents will pay $1,000 a month for a desk and $500 for their living quarters.
There are still 55 apartments in the high-ceilinged building (and one that’s under construction), and developers say they would rather sell them than rent them. In other words, if it worked out, buying the building was probably not the optimal course of action.
“It’s really nothing that they’re trying to do with economics or business,” says Grant Olson, one of 919 Tenley Circle’s developers. “It’s just to give people a place to live that’s accessible.”
There’s a reason why this approach is catching on, but the ripple effect goes far beyond Capitol Hill. For those who would like to live in a brand-new five-story co-working space but can’t afford the upfront costs (or can’t actually find a new neighborhood in DC, let alone in suburbia), the 62,000-square-foot 68 Tank offers a sort of middle-ground option. “It’s an exciting time in DC,” says Jonathan Griffith, 68 Tank’s chairman and CEO. “It’s a great way to interact with entrepreneurial types and that set.”
A typical membership at 68 Tank costs $1,000 a month, which includes 45 square feet of office space, four private conference rooms, a kitchen, and a massive playroom. The only concern is that 68 Tank–which was founded last year by a wife-and-husband team–is sparsely staffed. Griffith says the crew comprises about six people, but only two are members.
Though it’s available for residents to rent, 69 Tank has also been advertising itself for two weeks as a co-working space for startups. But this is actually the co-working element that will spin out of the normal leasing process–if residents sign a yearlong lease at 69 Tank, Griffith says, then they can get a work space at the space and get the startup floorspace on top of it.
Because each of the three types of tenants are using different amenities–the techies who work from home while their partners rent apartments, the co-working space that aims to attract those with startups–each level of use will cost a different amount. If you’re paying $1,000 a month for a 1,400-square-foot office with two private conference rooms, you’ll be charged $3,400 for the business-at-home perk. The same amount would pay for the business-and-living experience.
A home rental is only a small percentage of 69 Tank’s business, but Griffith says the planned approach could give him the flexibility to rent out a larger floorpace to a larger company. “I really see it as a part of an overall ecosystem,” he says. “I just love the idea of having an area that, for people who are going to live here, it provides them an environment where they can feel comfortable in.”
Griffith, who lives in Virginia, has lived on the Hill for years, but he sees 68 Tank as a creative way to make life on the hill just a little bit more manageable. “A lot of people are working from their kitchens,” he says. “I want to get people who have startups around here to have this sort of working environment.”