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Bay Area techies revive communal living

SAN FRANCISCO — Northern California tech entrepreneurs are reviving the practice of communal living to reduce housing costs and bring together creative young people.

The San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/18GJqXD) reported that techies are taking over mansions and other large buildings and turning them into modern-day communes.

These co-living spaces are attracting entrepreneurs seeking a lifestyle that involves shared groceries, family dinners and group amenities like yoga rooms.

Jordan Aleja Grader and her partner, early Facebook engineer Justin Rosenstein, turned a mansion in San Francisco's Mission District into a residence called Agape — Greek for "love."

"We're seeing a shift in consciousness from hyper-individualistic to more cooperative spaces," Grader said. "We have a vision to raise our families together."

Among Agape's 12 official residents are three who work at startups and nine entrepreneurs who work from home.

Jonathan Mahler, who is in his mid-20s and lives in Agape, said he divides his time between real estate investments, stone-carving and writing about feminist theory. He plans on co-living for the foreseeable future.

"Before this, I was living alone in Brooklyn, trying to do the entrepreneurial thing without any feedback, and it doesn't work," Mahler said.

Tom Currier, a 22-year-old who dropped out of Stanford's computer science program when he earned a $100,000 Thiel fellowship, runs four large tech houses in the San Francisco Bay Area: Dragon Stone, the Lodge, Olympus and Founder's Nest.

San Francisco real estate agent Bill Harkins said that in recent months he's seen a number of large and organized roommate groups looking for high-end residences.

"We used to have this thing we called communes — it was all free love, drugs, but it was the same spiritual concept," he said. "In this case, they just have more employment."

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle

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