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Arlington apartment features 'community living concept'

The apartments are called WeLive, and the folks who run them say they are all about community -- from community kitchens to community living rooms to community tables to work and interact at. (Tom Roussey/ ABC7)

It's a common refrain in the DC area: "I don't even know my neighbors."

At a new apartment complex that opened in Arlington this spring, that's a phrase you'll never hear.

The apartments are called WeLive, and the folks who run them say they are all about community -- from community kitchens to community living rooms to community tables to work and interact at.

"You definitely can't be quiet or shy," said resident Josh Jones.

From the outside, the only thing distinguishing the building from many of the other somewhat drab structures of Crystal City are the splashes of color painted on the concrete.

But inside are nine levels of former office space the owners of WeLive hope will revolutionize apartment living.

"If you think about how an apartment building is organized, it's really organized around the idea that I'm going to go into the building, I'm going to go into the apartment, and I'm going to shut the door," said Dave McLaughlin, the company's general manager for the East Coast.

"WeLive is really organized around a completely different principle...the whole concept is organized around shared spaces and shared experiences."

McLaughlin says the company that owns WeLive has about 80 places worldwide called WeWork. WeWork uses a similar shared-space concept for office space.

This spring, the company is opening its first two WeLive sites: the one in Crystal City and one in New York City. If they're successful, the company hopes to expand to other cities.

WeLive residents still have their own apartment, anything from a studio to a four bedroom. The price of a studio is $1640 a month, which is comparable to other places in the nearby area.

But WeLive employees emphasize residents receive a lot of extra things for that price -- from cable TV to community events such as yoga classes.

Residents often get together for informal events as well, such as watching Game of Thrones or Capitals games in a large community room.

Although residents have their own apartment they can go to if they want privacy, they are encouraged to use the community spaces and interact on a daily basis.

Residents say they often use the community's smart phone app to send messages and also find out about organized and informal events.

The apartments are furnished and even include sheets and cups and dishes. Smaller apartments don't have an oven -- you have to use the community kitchen for that -- but larger apartments do have one.

"It's fun and it's connected in a way that I like to be fun and connected, but there's also plenty of time for me time, to just kind of shut the door," said resident Angie Fox, who moved into the apartments with her 12-year old son last month.

"Sheets, mattresses, dishes, bowls, all of the things that normally we've had and carried around with us, we don't actually have to take care of that."

But both employees and residents admit the apartments are not for everyone. If you don't like to interact with your neighbors, they're not for you.

"It's not for people who don't value community," said McLaughlin.

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