In today’s competitive multifamily market, many developers chase the newest, hottest amenity as a strategy to stand out. But while it’s true a novel feature or a flashy design moment can catch the attention of prospects during the leasing process, to truly be successful, multifamily amenities need to do more than check boxes on the website or photograph well for a property’s marketing materials. The most beautiful amenities won’t drive resident satisfaction or, for that matter, retention if they sit empty and unused.
While the design of these spaces is still important, developers must be thoughtful in their approach and consider all that goes into how residents use and experience their surroundings—from physical and aesthetic aspects to activation and programming—to ultimately create functional, flexible amenities that residents will take advantage of repeatedly. Following are considerations that should be top of mind in that process:
Today’s amenities must be designed for versatility
The work-from-home lifestyle that has emerged post-pandemic means multifamily residents are spending more time at their property than ever before—at all hours of the day and days of the week. As such, common spaces need to be designed to carefully consider factors that can shift throughout the day, such as the availability of natural light and access to fresh air to perform at their best no matter when they are being used. And with maintenance services like landscaping crews operating in the middle of the work-from-home workday, sound intrusion—and soundproofing solutions—take on added importance.
Likewise, it’s important to look at the different ways residents will want to use an amenity depending on the time of day, day of the week or the season and design accordingly, and in some cases further enhance the versatility of amenities by creating them to serve a variety of functions. For example, a thoughtfully designed work-from-home space will see even more use if it is able to transition from a productivity focus during the day to a space for resident relaxation and socialization after business hours.
A great example of how to build flexibility into an otherwise single-use amenity is Notion, a recently completed 290-unit community in Decatur, Ga., where our team elevated the building’s lobby-adjacent mailroom into an adaptable coffeehouse-inspired coworking lounge. Featuring a variety of seating and espresso machines and cold brew on tap, this dynamic gathering place allows residents to work quietly, converse or collaborate on professional work—and pick up their mail.
Another trend to come out of the pandemic is the popularity of flexible, semi-private pocket areas where residents can work alone or socialize with small groups while still feeling like part of a larger space and community. Smaller-scale spaces distributed around the building tend to be more inviting, less intrusive to other residents and easier to activate compared to a single larger, one-size-fits-all common area. We have executed these pocket spaces in the way of smaller lounges with sliding doors that allow them to be closed off from larger common areas as well as booth-style seating that offers a semi-private venue for both coworking during the day or a game night with friends over a glass of wine.
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