By Meghan Hall
Since 2010, Seattle has seen massive employment growth, with nearly 100,000 positions created since the height of the Great Recession. Much of that growth has been driven by the region’s top tech employers, such as Amazon, Microsoft and others hiring thousands of employees, bringing an influx of brand new residents to Seattle. As the City’s demographics shift and tenant expectations evolve, developers and property owners are getting creative when it comes to attracting tenants and establishing community within their buildings. After noting that so many of their residents were moving to Seattle from across the United States — or even abroad — Greystar has partnered with The Collective Seattle to offer its residents at Ascent South Lake Union the opportunity to form new connections, building community right into its amenity offerings.
“What we’re seeing is that many of those who are living in South Lake Union are new to Seattle,” explained Greystar’s Senior Director of Development, Aaron Keeler. “It’s a distinct trend, for people that are moving from our communities to be moving here from another part of the country, or the world. We felt like The Collective would give us an opportunity to connect these new residents with others in the building and South Lake Union; we consider that very important, to make sure our residents feel like they live in a community.”
The Collective Seattle is a local, membership-based community dedicated to wellness and forming connections with other like-minded individuals. Its urban basecamp, the club’s hangout, is located blocks from Ascent and is designed to be an extension of the home for its members. The club features an in-house bouldering wall, double-decker hammock garden, work-space retreats, a coffee shop, outdoor excursion events and more. The price of a membership is $120 per month, a cost that Greystar covers on behalf of its residents.
Both The Collective and Ascent are located in South Lake Union, one of Seattle’s most rapidly growing neighborhoods thanks to major hiring waves by Amazon, who is headquartered in the neighborhood, and other tech giants such as Google and Facebook.
“The Collective is designed to be a way to connect with others around shared passions,” said Alex Mondau, community ambassador at The Collective. “I think what it means to have an urban base camp, beyond just a social club, is that the architecture of the space is designed to support activities in really unique ways and get people out of a restaurant or classroom and into a comfortable place, where people feel that it is like an extension of their home. South Lake Union is in the midst of a major transformation, and so by way of offering a place to connect with people outside of the office or new work environment, people get to bring their full self to the city.”
In addition to access to The Collective, The Collective also hosts events at Ascent for the tower’s residents. The club threw Ascent’s grand opening party and has since worked with Greystar to coordinate other resident events, including a coffee walk around the neighborhood. The Collective has also brought its executive chef and local vendors to Ascent, hosting various events that connect the tower’s residents with local businesses and artisans.
“The biggest thing, really, is getting folks connected face-to-face through some level of experience,” said Mondau. “As opposed to just small moments running into each other in the elevator, interactions through conversation and shared experiences from these events transform the building, I hope, from a place where residents just pay rent, to a home.”
In its events at Ascent, The Collective also utilizes the building’s numerous other amenities. The 24-story, 251-unit tower also features a fitness and yoga center and a full level rooftop indoor and outdoor amenity space complete with outdoor fire pit, kitchen and spa. The partnership, according to Keeler, has been very successful and has allowed Greystar to help differentiate its product from the numerous other apartment complexes coming to market.
“I think it’s been very positive,” said Keeler. “The Collective is very creative and we really found it to be a way to leverage a group that is creative and thoughtful. I think if someone is moving to Seattle, and they’re considering one of the larger, 400-unit communities, or they’re looking at something like Ascent, our size alone is a differentiator because we are smaller. The Collective compounds that, and gives perspective residents a great opportunity to make connections. It’s a great way of exposing the region and the neighborhood to new residents.”