A new style of housing option is popping up outside of major urban areas. Tagged as urban minimalism, the housing appeals to young professionals involved in new technology.

Although an attraction to cities, the housing leaves some questions unanswered on how it will perform into the future. How will it separate classes now and how will it be able to maintain the churn of young professionals interested in this lifestyle?

The peaked wooden eave jutting from the facade of the charcoal glass tower is trying to tell you something. So is the neon sign over the entranceway that says “home sweet home.” But it takes a beat to realize that the light-box sign reading Urby is not for an upmarket extended-stay hotel. You’re supposed to live here.

The new mixed-use residential development on Staten Island’s crane-studded north shore is the first in a proposed chain of apartment projects from New Jersey-based Ironstate Development, which has a record of building large luxury developments on the “Gold Coast” of the New Jersey waterfront. Other locations in the works include Jersey City (one of three towers completed), Harrison, New Jersey (now renting), and Stamford, Connecticut (underway). Each complex comprises ultramodern living units, ground-level retail, amenities such as heated outdoor pools, fitness centers, and keyless entry via phone app.

But Urby’s marketing emphasis is on common areas intended to facilitate interaction between tenants, like the coffee shops integrated into the lobbies and communal kitchens that host wine pairings and cooking demos. Ironstate has dubbed their model Urban Ready Life, or URL—“an all-encompassing living experience for today’s urbanite.”

Read More