Announcements October 18, 2021

Co-living and Co-working Converge at Kenect

Building community in a new model for apartment living

In communities across the country, a new residential model is emerging that incorporates working, living, and playing into highly efficient apartment and amenity-rich developments that reflect the interests of mobile, young professionals.

United under the Kenect brand, these innovative residences have similar design features such as apartment size, convenience, and accessibility but are adapted to the culture of each site and city, inspired by local art, music, and climate. Importantly, each Kenect is meant to promote a wide range of connections between residents and the surrounding community.  “Kenect is a creative way of thinking not just about individual buildings, but about a network of buildings uniquely tailored to the energy of each city,” says Design Principal Todd Snapp.

Kenect Phoenix
Located in downtown Phoenix, one block away from the city’s busiest light rail station in a growing dining and entertainment district, the more compact site required vertical planning, and warm weather meant adapting amenities to the climate.
Kenect Nashville Lobby and Coworking Space
The common features, bright color palettes, and soaring views identify the building as Kenect properties. But, so, too, does the customization in each city, from average living space to celebrating local artists and more.

We partnered with Kenect developer Akara Partners to design and roll out the lifestyle-focused brand in Nashville, followed by Phoenix, with additional locations coming online soon in Denver, Cleveland, Miami and Minneapolis. Although all Kenect properties have parking on the lower floors, with sustainability in mind, each building is located adjacent to public transit sites and in neighborhoods that are easily walkable to minimize car traffic. Each Kenect will have a mix of retail at ground level, designed for both residents and non-residents. Kenect is programmed to bring the outside in with networking events, social programming, live music, and more – plus a membership platform has been created to extend the Kenect experience to members and residents across the country.

To Akara Founder and CEO Rajen Shastri, three key features distinguish the brand: highly efficient, compact apartments; custom furnishings; and hospitality with social programming embedded in the value proposition. “We want to create a very distinctive brand for members and guests with local market nuance,” he says. “We have branded Kenect similar to how a hotel treats its standards across all markets.”

This convergence of living, working, exercising, entertaining, and socializing – all in one place – provides opportunities for active use of Kenect buildings at highly-affordable price points. “We are targeting people who are mobile, moving from city-to-city, working, working out, and socializing in the same place,” says Lynette Klein, senior interior project designer.

A variety of co-working and co-living spaces are common at each Kenect
Every location features compact apartments with great views in great neighborhoods. Custom designed furnishings that can be configured tor entertaining, working or resting for maximum efficiency.

Kenect Nashville

Located in Midtown, at the corner of Division, with 420 residential units over 21 stories, Kenect Nashville sits atop a podium featuring parking and three stories of co-working space. On the ground floor, a food hall and restaurant will soon welcome both residents and guests alike. The Nashville design – including metal slats shielding the garage meant to represent rhythms – and amenities play to the rich music scene in the city: indoor/outdoor performance spaces at street level and a private recording studio for residents and members, that is located in the co-working area. Local public artists are featured throughout: a sequin mural was created by Memphis-based artist studio TaroPop, along with painted murals by Nashville-based artists Kim Radford, Tess Davies and Nathan Brown. Decorative elements from local antique, 2nd-hand and home design stores offer intimate moments that celebrate Nashville culture.

Kenect Phoenix

Located in downtown Phoenix, one block away from the city’s busiest light rail station in a growing dining and entertainment district, the more compact site required vertical planning, and warm weather meant adapting amenities to the climate. The 23-story residential tower provides expansive floor-to-ceiling views. Shaded outdoor amenity spaces with grills and firepits are on two levels, and the pool sits on the roof deck. Canopies of metal louvers are integrated into the building design at the amenity terrace, roof deck and ground floor. At ground level, retail spaces have been designed to allow a porous connection between the residential lobby and dining and commercial areas, creating a dynamic environment for residents to circulate and interact. See more.

Kenect Miami

In the fast-growing downtown Miami Worldcenter development, close to vibrant art districts and adjacent to public transportation, Kenect Miami will be a sleek 39-story building with 450 units, 16,000 sf of retail, and 23,000 sf of co-working space. Nodding to the art around it, an intricate metal screen lined with LED strips will enclose the parking garage, and a mural will wrap the northside of the podium. The main street frontages will be lined with retail.

“Perkins&Will’s involvement from design through production speaks to the quality of the people who work there,” says Akara’s Shastri. “They built a team around us and were so involved in the ideation as partners alongside our team as we figured out every detail. They take a holistic approach, thinking about what they want to accomplish long term from design to ideation.”

For Akara’s Shastri, the future for the Kenect brand is bright. “We are creating a product that elevates the lifestyle of the resident. This is very relevant for at least 50 markets in the U.S., and we’re thinking about global expansion.”

Looking ahead, we can draw lessons from our co-living, co-working Kenect experience, and from what we’ve learned over the past year of the pandemic. Rethinking our use of indoor and outdoor space, how we might combine work and living space both within a building and within an apartment, even how we are likely to increase back-of-house space for more package deliveries – all are part of what we’ve learned. There is more, too, including a possible convergence of interests that bring together Millennials and Gen-Zers with an older population. “Across generations, there is a need for community and a support system,” says Amina Helstern, senior interior project designer and a leader of Living Design at the Chicago Studio. “That could influence design and programming for future senior housing.”

Akara Founder and CEO Rajen Shastri