There’s Apartments in There?! Unique Rentals Are Taking Over

Looking to build rentals into your business? We think that’s a pretty good idea. After all, demand for multi-family housing is at an all-time high, and rentals offer real estate agents access to first-time homebuyers and the opportunity to close deals quickly. However, If you’re still shying away from rentals because you’re worried about embarrassing yourself by showing clients grimy, outdating spaces, it’s time to think again. Lux amenities are growing in popularity with rental units. However, to woo potential clients, developers are getting more creative than open floor-plans. Some are opting to buy historical buildings, keep their unique façades, and carve out apartments that embrace the quirks and distinctive elements of the building’s original purpose. Check out these rentals we found in unique spaces. 

The Synagogue in Chicago 

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The repurposing of this gorgeous 1920s synagogue steeped in Jewish history is the latest project by Cedar Street Company. Chicago- based Cedar Street Company specializes in creating apartment complexes in unique, historical locations— in the past, they’ve craved apartments from former boarding houses, abandoned offices, and a historic piano factory. Their latest project, The Synagogue, opened its doors in March of 2019. The least-expensive of these apartments is $1600, a few hundred dollars shy of the average rent in Chicago. While these micro-apartments might certainly be super small— the studio apartment available on their leasing website has a measly 200 square feet of living space— this renovation carefully preserves this synagogue’s beauty. 

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Related: Rent in Chicago for Under $2000

The West Loft School in Philly

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Did you love high school so much you wished you could stay forever? How about living in this renovated 1912 High School. Even if you’re not nostalgic for your years as a student, this gothic revival building is undeniably stunning, and the units are outfitted with luxury amenities. With open floor plans, and two floors of living space, The West Loft’s units ooze understanding luxury. Like The Synagogue, this historic apartment has found ways to keep its unique character. All units have concrete floors and ceilings with exposed pipes. The facade also remains the same as it was when this building served as a school. Check out the the 24/7 gym, too! It features a beautiful suspended running track and its glossy wood floors will take residents straight back to running laps during last period. 

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Related: Rent in Philly for Under $1600

Windsor flats in Cincinnati


Still want to live in a high school? The original structure of this building was erected in 1888; however, the last student attendance was in 2004. With beautiful architectural details and exposed wood, renters won’t forget that this building’s unique past is never far away. 

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Shipping containers

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While most of the other apartments on this list boasts luxury amenities, these super-small, more austere apartment are built to keep roofs over heads at a good price. These shipping container apartments are mobile and easily erected, so shipping container apartment solutions crop up in cities with overcrowding problems and low housing inventory. But, living in them won’t be a scene from a horror move. Check out these photos. With built-in windows built in and new finishes, you’ll almost forget you’re basically cargo. 


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Miss camp? Desperate to live in San Francisco, but don’t want to dish out the average rent of $3702? Want to make friends by living in very close proximity to strangers? Try living in these San Francisco bunk beds. To sleep in a bunk bed and have only a few square feet of personal space, it’ll cost you $1200 a month (that’s two hundred dollars shy of average rent nationwide for a whole apartment.) However, San Francisco renters looking to work in walking to their jobs or newcomers to the city looking for a temporary solution, it’s well worth it. Plus, the hostel-like set-up makes it easy to find friends!  

How Come these So Many Of These Cool Rentals?

So, why are all these unique rentals popping up across the country? Apart from the fact that living in a refurbished school is plain cool, here’s some reasons why rentals in unique places are appearing.

Growing trend of nicer amenities to attract new visitors

With rental occupancy rates at an all time high, and both the average age and average salary of renters on the rise, many apartment builders are installing luxury amenities to woo highly qualified tenants. From stainless steel appliances to open floor plans, builders need to have their finger on recent trends. However, when there’s a high saturation of apartments with granite countertops, what can make your unit stand out? Novelty and unique architectural details can be powerful draws!  

People Want to Rent

On the other hand, some of these unique rentals serve less as novel homes designed to capture prospective tenants’ attention and more as creative solutions to the problems of overcrowding. With both rental occupancy and average price for apartments at all-time highs, builders are looking to capitalize on the growing popularity of renting and transforming any lot they can into high-end rentals.

Read more about Why Rentals Matter Right Now.

…Especially Millennials!

With millennials flocking to rental units at especially high rates, it seems particularly important for developers to push the envelop and create innovative and trendy units. Renting fits in well with a millennial lifestyle that demands flexibility and privileges environmental consciousness. 

And, many Millennials can afford to live in luxury apartments in unique space. Also, with the average age of marriage and first-time child birth at all time high, Millennials don’t need to dish out more money for extra bedrooms. Instead, they’ll pay up luxurious accommodations!

Rental Beast is a platform dedicated to make the whole rental process— from lead generation to lease signing— simpler and more profitable for real estate agents. With a database of over 7 million listings not found on the MLS, a full-CRM, a lightning fast rental application engine, you’ll be ready to build rentals into your business and access first time homebuyers. 

To learn more about the Rental Beast platform or to request a no-obligation demo visit Rental Beast for Real Estate Agents.

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