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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

Targeting the Foodies

It's exciting to see more innovative architecture discussions coming out of the multifamily industry during the past year. Although "green" building is interesting, what really has me going is social-based architecture. This is architecture designed to create more plentiful and meaningful social interactions in the community. Yesterday, I came across an article about a community that has created a "food and wine" niche community that houses a temp-controlled wine room and Chef's Demonstration Kitchen. Residents can store their own wine in the wine room and the community brings in guest chefs from local eateries. (Read More)

There are so many great things about this concept that I'm not sure where to begin! First, they've made the community area a real community area. It always amazes me how developed communities have so much capital wrapped up in their community rooms, but really they often end up being glorified waiting rooms for prospects. But here, they have actually made the room useful to their actual customers!

Second, they have identified a target audience for their property. Not everybody is going to love the food and wine amenities, but that's really the point. There is no community concept that everybody loves, so if you are attempting to appeal to everybody, then you are likely truly appealing to nobody (i.e., you will get luke warm responses consistently, but those who LOVE your community will be few and far between). Now granted, haven't a food and wine niche isn't all that risky of a niche play compared to other niches, but it's definitely a start!

Third, they noted that many of their residents are "residents by choice." Wait, hold .. the train - I know what you are thinking. This goes against everything we are ever taught in America - who would ever rent by choice? At least that's what we are led to believe, right? That home ownership is the holy grail of existence... Well, apparently if you create a compelling living environment, apartment communities can compete quite well with home ownership. But the key word is "compelling", so don't expect your DVD library and once a year summer blowout to turn the tide.

So the moral of the story is to stop the one-size-fits-all mentality that is so prevalent in our industry. Find your target audience and then brainstorm ways to appeal specifically to that audience. It will definitely pay off in the long run.

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