If there’s one silver lining of COVID, it’s the way the D.C. community has bounced back with determination and drive. By pairing a knack for finding inventive solutions with a steadfast perseverance, businesses all across the DMV have shifted their business models to accommodate the evolving needs of consumers navigating a new reality. Unsurprisingly, the world of new development is no different. When COVID first hit, many ongoing new development plans were paused, with a foreboding uncertainty clouding any plans for the future. For some developers, though, the disruption wasn’t a deterrent, but rather a chance to put their creativity to the test.
When Square and Lot, a full-service urban development firm, broke ground on Viva in January 2020, they had no way of knowing what was coming. Viva, a 47-room apartment building in Capitol Hill, was always envisioned as a co-living concept, and one that was almost instantly undercut once the pandemic began to unfold. Just weeks earlier, co-living represented a vibrant lifestyle built on connection, but seemingly overnight, we were forced to trade connection for isolation. Square and Lot, however, didn’t linger on the roadblocks in their path. Instead, they began adapting their vision for the current COVID-driven housing landscape with flexibility and imagination. Square and Lot took several major steps: outdoor spaces became even more critical to the concept, and they hired landscape architect Joseph Richardson to transform the rear of the building into a beautiful outdoor oasis complete with a comfortable living area and kitchen.
They also invested to enhance the building’s air quality to ensure a safe living environment for all, upgrading the HVAC with a whole house HEPA, a mechanical air filter that traps 99% of harmful particles it encounters. In addition, they designed every co-living bed to accompany dedicated bathrooms; with 95% of the building’s bedrooms offering an en-suite bathroom, Viva boasts limited shared common elements. But that’s not all: Square and Lot’s dedication to building the healthiest, safest co-living housing around is also reflected in their selection of fixtures and finishes. Flat surface cabinets were chosen to allow for easier cleaning, more refrigeration was added to limit common areas, and even electronic locks were added to facilitate hands-free entry.
As you can see, Viva is a new development that prioritizes the safety and lifestyle of its residents—during COVID and beyond. Leasing now, visit vivaatcapitolhill.com to make Viva your new home today
About the developers: Square and Lot has designed, restored, and developed 100+ units in various neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. Their asset class includes multi-family properties, for sale condominiums, affordable housing, and co-living facilities. Together, the principals—Amit Vora and Sima Tessema—bring several decades of entrepreneurship, real estate development, and management experience to every deal.
About the manager: Vie Management is a vertically integrated real estate investment and management company operating a diversified portfolio of student housing, co-living and multifamily communities throughout the country. With over 18 years of experience, Vie has owned and managed more than 40,000 beds.
Sima Tessema is a partner at Square and Lot, 202-455-6004, SquareandLot.com.