The Collective Paper Factory introduces a community-driven co-living model to Long Island City

Photo courtesy of The Collective

What was once the 100-year-old Paper Factory Hotel, located at 37-06 36th Street, has undergone a makeover thanks to the British-based company, The Collective.

Back in March, The Collective announced that they acquired the space to introduce their first operational co-living site in the United States — and in November, they officially opened up for business.

“People often ask me, how do you describe co-living? And it’s not an easy question to answer given that we’re still at such an early stage in our journey, but I think it really comes down to a feeling. It’s about creating a feeling of sense of belonging and a feeling where people can really experience life,” Reza Merchant, founder and CEO of The Collective, said at a press preview.

Merchant and a group of colleagues started the company back in 2010 after realizing that living spaces weren’t meeting the needs of students, graduates or other city dwellers who didn’t just want a place to live, but wanted a place where they could live and connect with others.

That’s the purpose of The Collective Paper Factory.

Their modern-yet-cozy space is designed to invite guests to convene in open spaces outside of their rented rooms. There’s a warm, brick-wall Conservatory with sofas and seats that leads to their Courtyard, a Playroom, a gym, a Great Room for events and an all-day restaurant and bar called ama.

When it comes to their rooms, which have a minimalistic, sleek and home-y look, there’s a variety of options, according to their website. Guests can choose from a 230 square-foot room with a queen bed, a 245 square-foot room with two queens beds and a crib, a 412 square-foot ADA Accessible room with a king bed, a 400 square-foot room with a king bed and a kitchenette, among others.

Max Lacome

The rates vary but according to The Collective, the rooms start at $135 per night. For a two-week stay, they start at $1,250 and a 29-day stay starts at $2,300. No matter what room guests choose, they will have access to all amenity spaces, Wi-Fi, gym membership, 24/7 concierge, professional cleaning, linen change and utilities.

The Collective’s projects in London tend to attract people between the ages of 18 and 65, at a wide range of professional and income brackets. The co-living approach also tends to accommodate those with a more flexible lifestyle, “whether it’s because they’re between leases or craving a more community-led environment.”

They foresee that their space in Long Island City will also attract international guests “looking to discover Astoria and Long Island City during their visit to New York, as well as act as a homebase to Queens natives and New Yorkers at large.”

Long Island City is no stranger to the co-living model, though. Ollie is another company that came to the neighborhood in 2018, and offers an all-inclusive co-living experience. The two had representatives speak on a panel about the different kinds of co-living and co-working spaces that are coming to LIC at this year’s LIC Summit.

But what sets The Collective apart is its outspoken efforts to involve the community in their vision.

Photo courtesy of The Collective

They say they did extensive research of the area, are looking to work with nearby local business and spoke to many leaders in LIC to understand the quickly changing neighborhood.

One of the leaders they’ve worked with is Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the LIC Partnership.

“Long Island City is attracting the most innovative companies with its unparalleled access to space, mass transit and a diverse range of industries and talent — and The Collective Paper Factory is a great example of how international brands at the cutting edge of their industry are choosing LIC for their next home,” Lusskin told QNS. “The Collective is not only a great co-living concept but also a thought leader in the field. Their Paper Factory location takes advantage of all LIC has to offer, while also serving as a welcome addition to the neighborhood.”

This is only phase one of The Collective Paper Factory. In 2021, phase two will introduce more than 100 “purpose-designed co-living units on top of the existing structure.”

The Collective also has plans to introduce more co-living spaces in Brooklyn. They are in the midst of transforming the historic Slave Theater at 1215 Fulton Street into a mixed-use building as well as creating a mixed-use tower that will serve as its flagship location at 555 Broadway.

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