Dorm room at Starcity. Courtesy of
Santa Monica High School

Dorms in college and beyond

Many high school students will be visiting colleges over spring break this year. If you’re going, check out the dorms. Those rooms with just enough space for a single bed and a desk may be your future, your long-term future.

Many cringe at communal bathrooms and sharing a common room with strangers. Parents may say it’s a way to learn negotiating skills and how to get along with others. But there is a sense that this group living will end at college graduation. However, this is not always so. It’s apparently become the way to live not just for college students, but for young professionals as well.

To aid in the affordable housing cause, a new company in San Francisco has opened its doors, and its dorms. Starcity is renovating old buildings and turning them into modern dorms with furnished single rooms, shared bathrooms and common areas, such as a kitchen and a living room.

Living in San Francisco is even more expensive than living in Los Angeles. According to, the average one-bedroom in San Francisco rents for $3,405 per mont and in Los Angeles, $2,230 per month.

For about $2,000 per month, depending on the location, Starcity residents get a furnished bedroom, shared bath, rights to a common kitchen, living room and outdoor spaces. The rent also includes utilities and Wi-Fi, just like college. For $130/month extra, there is a cleaning service for their room. Not all colleges have that.

Something else these residences have in common with college dorms is social events. The residents do things together — have parties, plan outings and share meals. Some spaces even allow pets. For a single professional, this living situation makes sense. It also cuts down on commuting, which can cut pollution and more importantly give the residents more time to work or to play.

Starcity is doing an admirable job of turning older, vacant buildings into dormitories with minimal disruption as well as development for the areas it serves. This model also creates new units for housing at a faster pace and a more affordable rate. Given that the Los Angeles area has an affordable housing crisis, this type of living may be coming here soon.