Co-Living In London Gets A Makeover As Investment In Wellness Real Estate Surges

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LONDON, United Kingdom — A new school of wellness architects are disrupting the traditional real estate sector across the UK and US, positioning health, fitness and wellbeing at the foundations of new residential builds. 

This summer, while the US company behind state-of-the-art Equinox Fitness Clubs plan to open the doors on its first luxury wellness destination hotel in New York’s Hudson Yard, UK-based Mason & Fifth are bidding to shake up the co-living model in London. 

Backed by pan-European real estate investment club FORE Partnership, Mason & Fifth have begun this wellness real-estate revolution with the purchase of two London sites in Bermondsey and Gloucester Place, totalling £15 million, with extra investment ready for a rapid roll-out of international sites. 

The spaces will offer daily fitness programmes including yoga, Pilates, meditation, daily running and cycling clubs, as well as an in-house chef catering for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Uniquely, says the company – which sets the “all-in” service at £1,650 per month – members will be able to move between buildings, cities and countries on a week’s notice, giving residents the confidence that a community awaits them, no matter where they are in the world. 

Co-founded by Ben Prevezer and David Silver, Mason & Fifth will launch its first residential building in September this year and aim to build a global network based on the principles of community living, offering members the opportunity to share in a “more simple, sustainable and satisfying way of life”. 

“Our entire offering is underpinned by wellbeing where we’re creating a genuine blueprint for a more healthy, sustainable and fulfilling way of life for our members,” says Prevezer. “We believe the home is where wellbeing begins and one’s home should be a sanctuary from busy urban living and the springboard to thriving in everyday life.” 

THE WELLNESS REAL ESTATE REVOLUTION
The pioneering initiatives by Equinox and Mason & Fifth follow the Global Wellness Institute’s valuation of the wellness real estate sector at $134 billion in 2017, with it projected to surge to $197 billion by 2022. 

In the heart of the city of London, the trend has been seized upon by the Soho House Group owned hotel The Ned, where a multi-million-pound investment transformed the former HQ of Midland Bank into one of the capital’s most sought-after holistic hotspots. 

“The Ned was conceived to be a wellness destination in its own right,” says managing director Gareth Banner of the £200 million hotel that boasts two swimming pools, a standalone spa with a 20 metre pool, Moroccan hammam, steam room and sauna and a 620 square metre gym, which has just been upgraded with a BeaverFit training rig and set of Peloton bikes. 

“During the design and construction period, two floors of the building were dedicated to fitness and spa facilities as we wanted the product to be able to compete with the leading operators around London and ensure the best possible wellness experience for our guests,” adds Banner. 

Co-Living In London Gets A Makeover As Investment In Wellness Real Estate Surges

Image: Mason & Fifth

CONSUMER DRIVEN CO-LIVING
Speaking to Welltodo on this surging trend and the size of the opportunity to overhaul the traditional real estate model, Prevezer said: “We’ve reached a point in Western society where people expect ‘more’ in every aspect of their lives and real estate is the next chapter where buildings are becoming more than simply functional spaces. 

“They have a broader more far-reaching role in the lives of the people that they are hosting – whether it’s office spaces that enable higher productivity, hotels which make your transitional stay more comfortable and convenient or, like, Mason & Fifth, homes which are sanctuaries and havens within the city where people can reset and re-energise in order to optimise their lives outside of the home.” 

Prevezer believes consumer demand is driving wellness-inspired innovation in the sector as the use of technology that means we can never switch off is leading to an increasingly frenetic nature of our day-to-day lives. 

“Everything to do with Western society is about consumption. We’re wired to think we need more and to work harder. We can’t stop. It’s difficult and almost inconceivable that we’ll be able to reverse this, but it is possible to provide balance by creating space for ourselves, both in terms of headspace and physical space. We believe this starts at home.” 

Prevezer admits the US is leading the transformation of wellness real estate, with integrated co-living and co-working concepts such as We Work, We Live and Rise by We thriving. 

However, he says, the UK is catching up quickly. “There’s definitely a lot of movement taking place in the US but we are carving our own path in the UK. For us, it’s less about the functional benefit that co-living offers, in terms of fixing the rental market, and more about actually establishing a way of living that is aspirational and enhanced for the people we are housing. 

“The co-living market is in its infancy. And this presents an incredibly exciting time for us, as we embark on this new experiment to build a new global community.” 

Beyond restructuring the living model, Basil Demeroutis, managing partner of investment partners FORE, hopes co-living initiatives such as those pioneered by Mason & Fifth could offer a solution to socio-economic issues facing the capital. 

“Co-living presents the opportunity to tap into the housing affordability challenge that London is facing,” says Demeroutis. “Providing a more suitable way of living, this project will appeal to the young who are attracted by community, convenience and wellbeing.” 

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