Big Demand for High-Style, High Function Amenities
September 30, 2014 – Western Real Estate Business
By Bill Wilhelm
As the lines between leisure, homes and office spar blur, so too, do the amenities included at these properties.
With the convergence of work and play prevalent in all sectors of the community and among all generations, it is now more important than ever that properties reflect that reality and serve customers’ desired amenities. Gone are the days when an apartment complex was just a place to call home. Today’s multifamily communities must not only provide excellent housing options, but are also required to serve as entertainment facilities and offices. Even offices, which previously were just a hub for work, must now provide gyms, nearby shopping areas and other comforts to make it feel like a home away from home. As a result, it is imperative that property-owners and developers satisfy the next generation of residents and attract new customers, by incorporating high-style, high-function common amenities into their projects.
R.D. Olson Construction has seen a significant transformation in the desire and need for amenities that are not only functional, but also aesthetically pleasing, across these sectors. In the past, apartment communities would be less concerned with providing outdoor entertainment areas, and more concerned with providing spacious units. The same theme is prevalent in the hospitality sector. Now, even in the select service arena, hotels want to provide creature comforts like in-room Netflix streaming and gourmet coffee stations to their guests.
An example of this type of transformation can be seen in 27 Seventy Five Apartments in Costa Mesa, Calif. This established apartment community had to transform to remain competitive in the marketplace and meet resident demand. A large community building was added that featured indoor-outdoor entertainment space, a grilling area, a screening room, and plentiful lounge seating. This created the resort-style living well-suited to match residents’ needs.
Multifamily housing is embracing this trend in other ways, too. Some communities have installed AmazonFresh lockers on their properties, allowing residents to have fresh produce, dairy and meat delivered directly to their doors at prearranged times. Other communities let residents control their units’ lighting, heating and cooling via smartphone. This essentially provides tenants with instant access to the heartbeat of their homes, even when they’re away.
Contrary to popular thinking, this demand is not only prevalent in the Millennial generation, but among customers of all ages. Many master-planned communities that cater to the senior community are constructing new amenities as well. These include large pool areas with bars, barbecues and bocce courts, in addition to common clubhouses to host parties and events, in order to keep up with market demand. Beyond the capacity for entertainment, many communities are adding features like fitness centers and yoga rooms to also put health and wellness benefits at residents’ fingertips.
Households with residents aged 55 and older could reach as high as 46.6 percent of the U.S. population by 2020, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Master-planned communities will look to offer amenities that support the niche interests of this demographic on-site, making them more attractive to this booming demographic.
As a result of the demand for upscale amenities, developers and property owners must choose the right team in order to create communities and properties that meet customers’ needs. In order to do this, established properties must adapt, while new properties must be constructed with these needs in mind. As the lines between sectors and property types continues to blur – with the office becoming a place for leisure and a retail center functioning as an off-site office – it is critical to understand how you can create and construct properties that effectively meet the needs of clients and customers.