As soon as an architect friend showed him a video of the Ori system, Matt Branagh knew it was just what he was looking for. The fourth-generation Owner/CEO of Branagh Development, Lafayette, Calif., saw that Ori could make his studio apartments feel like junior one-bedroom units—perfect, he said, for the “huge wave of people” coming to Oakland from San Francisco to get more space at lower rental cost in a first-class building.
He leased five Studio Suites and purchased eight Pocket Closets for Maya, his firm’s 47-unit apartment building in Oakland, which opened in March. He’s bundling a $275/month premium into the leases for units with a Studio Suite and $95/month for those with a Pocket Closet.
Branagh said tenant adoption for the Pocket Closet was “really strong.” “People get it,” he said. “It’s a price point that they’re willing to pay for, and it’s unique—their friends don’t have it.” He said some prospective tenants were “a little intimidated” working the robotic keyboard at first, but “once they did it a couple of times, they loved it.”
He said Ori turned his floor plans around in 3-4 days and suggested several options. The manufacturer flew in two technicians from Boston to install the systems. They had to do a work-around for the Pocket Closets because the nonmoving section of the two-part system would have bumped into the apartments’ mini-splits. Even so, “the installation was quicker than expected,” just a few days, he said. Branagh has ordered six more.
For Nova Quincy, a 171-unit mixed-use rental community in Quincy, Mass., 10 miles south of Boston, Jonathan Miller, Vice President of LBC Boston, has ordered 40 Studio Suites. “Our prospective tenants are young professionals looking for value outside Boston but close to transit in a lively downtown center,” said Miller. The MBTA Red Line stop is a seven-minute walk.
Nova Quincy will open in September, but already there’s been “a ton of interest” in the Ori system from prospective tenants “looking for something innovative.”
Studio Suites will be installed in 10 studio apartments and 30 micro-units (330–400 sf). “One of the primary benefits of Ori is your usable square footage is much greater”—about 100–150 sf more, he has calculated—“than what you’re paying for.” LBC Boston will include a $200–250 monthly rental premium for what they’re calling “Ori Smart” Studios.
Miller said he wants to see how the leasing goes for the Ori-outfitted units, but so far he’s “definitely bullish” on using Studio Suites in future projects in Quincy, Allston, and Brighton, where LBC Boston has permitting for 1,500 apartments.