YouTube house: London pair hopes to turn troubled property into social-media hotspot

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Two Londoners have taken up the task of transforming a troubled housing unit into a social hub for online content creation – or, more simply, Canada’s first-ever “YouTube house.”

Matt McKeever, an owner of more than 10 London properties, and Peter Kloczko, known as the Hungarian Experiment to his more than 22,000 YouTube subscribers, are the duo behind the so-called Social Lab.

“I’ve wanted to start this network of YouTubers and people who go around doing good things and creating content for a long time,” Kloczko said.

That network, the pair hopes, will soon be born in a formerly rundown six-plex at 880 Dundas St. (across the street from the Western Fair Farmers Market).

McKeever and Kloczko are slicing rent in half for five people to live in the property – but it comes with a catch.

Tenants will be moving into what they dub Canada’s first YouTube house, where they’ll participate in a lifestyle experiment focused on social-media growth and online-content creation.

“I’ve always thought it would be cool to be this classic patron of the arts, and this is kind of our version of that – a patron of social media,” McKeever said.

The goal of McKeever and Kloczko is to create an MTV Real World-type atmosphere and, with the participation of the tenants, build an online following.

The premise isn’t unheard of – it’s actually trendy among some of YouTube’s biggest stars.

“I saw that this was coming, where there was going to be these people and they were going to take YouTube to its ultimate extent by doing crazy things,” said Kloczko, who documents the lifestyle and physical experiments that he tries on himself on his Hungarian Experiment channel.

But the history of social media stars practising their craft together hasn’t always been positive.

The Los Angeles neighbourhood of Jake Paul, who has almost 10 million subscribers on YouTube, has been a scene of controversy in recent weeks. The 20-year-old online star and the entourage he lives with have been accused by neighbours of causing mayhem in the neighbourhood. His YouTube videos don’t exactly suggest otherwise.

Scrutiny online has followed that of his neighbours. Paul’s antics led Disney to shelve their partnership with the YouTuber.

McKeever says similar chaos won’t be the case at London’s Social Lab. He and Kloczko have already had success in ditching the bad-rap the Old East Village property had before he bought it six weeks ago.

“It was the last eyesore. The last problem property,” McKeever said of 880 Dundas St.

On his way by the partially renovated house one day recently, Peter Strack, president of the Old East Village Community Association, leaned out of his car to say how thankful he is for their efforts.

“Everyone seems super positive and supportive,” McKeever said.

McKeever and Kloczko say the focus of videos and projects of the not-yet-hired stars will be on community events, community involvement, and by promoting and collaborating with local businesses. 

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