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Fastfive plans communal homes for millennials ‘with taste’

Sept 06,2018
Fastfive co-CEO Kim Dae-il, right, leads a panel discussion with experts on the co-working space market at a press conference in southern Seoul on Wednesday. [FAST TRACK ASIA]
Fastfive, a Korean co-working space provider, announced on Wednesday that it would make a foray into the communal housing market next year as its shared office service rapidly grows across Seoul.

The three-year-old domestic equivalent to industry giant WeWork is currently constructing a building near Seonjeongneung Station in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, set for completion next February.

The 13-story building can accommodate 130 household units under the “Life” brand name and will target millennials “with taste.”

“Just as living in an apartment in Gangnam is considered a kind of status symbol now, those who live in Life-branded apartments will be considered people with refined taste,” said Park Ji-woong, chief executive officer of Fast Track Asia, the mother company of Fastfive, and co-CEO of Fastfive, at a press conference on Wednesday at the second branch of the co-working space in southern Seoul.

He said that the 500,000 people in their 20s and 30s who live alone in officetels and one-room studios are all potential customers. The fully-furnished apartments will be built around attractive community services, activities and amenities.

Fastfive is following in the footsteps of WeWork, which entered into the co-living business late last year with two locations - New York and Washington.

But the fact that the fledgling co-living industry has yet to see a “big player” prompted him to launch Life.

Fastfive has been growing at a formidable speed since its launch in April 2015.

It currently runs 16 branches in Seoul, with 75 percent of them located in Gangnam District, and plans to add four more by the end of this year and add another 10 next year.

Having started out with just 130 customers in its first branch, Fastfive now provides office space for over 7,000 people, more than the number of employees at Naver and Kakao, Korea’s two biggest portal companies, combined.

“Gangnam has a relatively high portion of people who recognize the value of co-working spaces and communities,” said Park. “There will be more coming from northern Seoul, but Gangnam will remain dominant.”

He went on to say that a crucial paradigm shift is taking place in the Korean real estate market. The era of selling new buildings is over, and companies that can upgrade the value of already established buildings - by way of leasing properties and renting out workspaces within them on a monthly basis -will take center stage in the real estate industry. The lesson came from Japan, he added.

That rosy outlook has worked out for WeWork as well. The American company entered Korea two years ago and has 10 branches as of Monday. It has yet to unveil a plan to launch WeLive here.


BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]


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