With many young professionals and families opting to rent rather than buy, multifamily developers are facing more competition for tenants today than ever before. To win over prospective renters, developers are designing apartment communities to act more like resorts. Smart developers are focused on providing high-value amenities to make their properties more attractive to the higher-end clientele.
The question most developers want to know is, “which amenities do renters want and value the most?”
I have been in the design business for more than 20 years, providing comprehensive corporate and commercial interior design for over 450 projects throughout the West Coast. There have been many trends in multifamily amenities that have come and gone over the years. Here are the amenities that will stand the test of time and make a particular multifamily housing complex more attractive than the competition.
1. Outdoor Living Spaces
With apartments being limited in space, large outdoor spaces act as an extension of a tenant’s living spaces. This is one of the most popular amenities among renters today—especially in areas with great weather like Southern California. Often times including a clubroom with a kitchen connecting to a pool area, outdoor spaces provide a great mixed-use space for entertaining or lounging. Patios with plush seating areas set around a fire pit are also in high-demand in outdoor spaces.
2. 24-Hour Fitness Centers
Many tenants lead busy lives. As such, it can be difficult to get to the gym, regardless of best intentions. This has created a demand for the luxury 24-hour fitness center in multifamily developments. The modern fitness center is more than just a multi-use room with a couple of machines and free weights. Developers are going all in with creating large, two-story fitness centers resembling an actual gym. These typically have separate dual-purpose exercise rooms for yoga, Pilates, Zumba or spin class. The top-of-the-line centers feature high-tech virtual fitness instructors that can help give tenants a better work out, any time of day.
3. Outdoor Theaters
Indoor theaters are the thing of the past. It’s all about outdoor theaters now, and that aligns with the “moving outdoors” trend we’re seeing in a lot of amenities today. Young, single tenants are looking for spaces to conveniently hang out with friends. Outdoor theaters are a fun feature of an outdoor seating area, especially if tenants can lounge on a lawn or near fire pits while enjoying a film.
4. Rooftop Decks
For multifamily housing units in urban spaces, rooftop decks are an absolute given. Why not give tenants a comfortable way to enjoy the outdoors while taking in the surrounding view? This is a highly desirable amenity for today’s renter. The rooftop deck (or party deck) provides separate spaces for several groups of people to comfortably socialize. Dining tables, barbecues, lounge seating and fire pits are essential to bringing tenants outdoors. To maximize the appeal, add in outdoor heaters for night time and overhangs to provide share on sunny days.
5. Golf Simulator Room
Golf is still the sport of business. With many professionals opting into luxury apartments instead of houses, golf simulators have become a new and innovative trend we’re seeing in multifamily developments. These are exactly as they sound: game simulators that allow tenants to play a couple holes of virtual golf. Though trendy, this is definitely one of the hottest differentiators right now.
6. Office Spaces
Tenants are increasingly seeking work areas outside of their homes. Office spaces in today’s apartment and condo complexes are similar to the traditional (but outdated) “Business Centers.” There are typically equipped with Wi-Fi, table space or even open cubicles, sometimes event acting more as a cyber café or e-lounge.
7. Conference Rooms
As an extension of open office space, many developers are also opting to provide one or two conference rooms available to tenants. Entrepreneurs, business owners, and even study groups can utilize the space without the distractions often present in the office.
8. Sports Bar
When your clientele has varying lifestyles, it is a great idea to offer spaces that range from formal to casual. The sports bar, much like the clubroom, is a great space for entertaining or just hanging out. It is all about casual entertainment: a place where tenants can relax, drink a beer while watching the game, shoot some pool, and throw darts.
9. Cyber Café
Smart multifamily developers are finding success with offering these mix-used open spaces, since they provide extra living space. Cyber cafes are the casual version of office space, while also providing space for tenants to casually enjoy a cup of coffee. The cyber café is the place to do a little work on a laptop while sipping a homemade espresso.
10. Pet Spa
More and more buildings are adopting pet-friendly policies and environments. In fact, a decade ago we almost never saw pet-friendly buildings, but now nearly every development offers the option. The pet spa is an area with big tubs and dryers where tenants can easily bathe their furry friends. These rooms typically have easy-to-clean tile floors and walls, with waterproof artwork to give the space some character.
Including several of these top amenities into multifamily developments is an effective way to attract more tenants. Amenities such as these offer more value to tenants, so they feel they get ‘more bang for their buck.’ It is a great strategy for standing out from the competition and offering more than just an apartment or condo, but a complete living experience.