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Beyond Four Walls: New Age Luxury in Multifamily Housing

New age luxury living prioritizes convenience and restoration by anticipating residents' needs and designing for them.

Apartment buildings are no longer simply a space to hold your belongings and lay your head – they are an extension of your lifestyle and a wellness tool to use in the race against the clock in your hectic everyday life. Now more than ever, renters seek spaces that offer convenience in and around their building.

If their home was designed as a toolkit that made everyday decisions easier, food options healthier, and downtime more restful, then residents would be able to live their lives more wholly – and in a world as hectic and time-stressed as we’re in today, what more could you as a renter ask for than a space to find peace from it all?

In recent years, trends and research show many working-professional renters tend to work later, run jampacked days around their respective cities to fulfill their calendar’s demands, and feel mounting pressure to have everything in order by dinner time when returning home at the end of their day. This, in turn, offers multi-family residential developers an opportunity to give renters back valuable hours missing from their day by adopting a shortlist of thoughtful adjustments to their amenity and unit designs.

Delivery Management

Grocery delivery storage is not glamorous, but we see it becoming an essential amenity for renters in the coming years. Grocery stores are daunting and no longer a ritual part of the week as pre-made meal preparation, and grocery delivery services become more popular.

The need for delivery services has significantly increased during the Coronavirus Pandemic. This demand will likely continue to grow as consumer behaviors become accustomed to this time-saving tradition they’ve integrated into their routines. To meet the needs of future working-professional tenants, luxury rental buildings with chilled delivery rooms could very well give back to their communities and encourage more local deliveries as well, like florists and weekly farming vegetable drop-offs.

We already see companies meeting these needs, with Parcel Pending, for example, a package maintenance system that has released Refrigerated Lockers. And as more companies like Parcel Pending are emerging with creative ways to simplify people’s access to nutrition and daily needs, our buildings need to evolve with them.

For instance, Cameo in Orange County, CA, a recent project designed in collaboration with Toll Brothers Apartment Living, provides residents access to a vending machine-like grocery cabinet called a Stockwell. Everyday essentials from laundry detergent to flavored seltzers are available for purchase through an easy-to-use smart app, which helps prevent a grocery store trip when renters are in a pinch. The Stockwell machine can track the data of what users buy and how frequently so that they can adjust the stock to meet the needs of its users, therefore taking the guesswork out of the hands of the property management team and maximizing usefulness to renters.

For food delivery services, a building could include easily accessible parking spaces for delivery drivers and a designated receiving location for secure food delivery drop-off. The drop-off location could be a chic decorative wall unit with alphabetized shelving in view of a leasing agent, a back-of-house heat lamp area to keep the food warm, or perhaps, a more secure locker system merging the original Automat food dispensary concept with amazon prime lockers.

A “typical” amenity, such as a mailroom, can be given a more dynamic purpose in a prominent location and accompanied by other amenities such as a coffee station or a pub with various games to encourage social encounters, as seen in Toll Brothers Apartment Livings' The Kendrick.

Nutrition

In addition to delivery convenience, the need for low-effort healthy, environmentally-friendly food options is emerging as a competitive amenity in the multi-family housing market. With constant reminders of the damage that processed food can cause to the body, people are making more thoughtful and sustainable decisions about what they eat and the impact their decisions have on the environment.

In response to this growing need, an on-property vending machine that provides healthy, locally sourced small bites and meals would offer more flexibility and comfort for renters of all ages and incomes. Making a good decision these days requires a fair amount of research – Is the product sourced locally? Is it organic? Is the packaging recyclable?

Taking that effort off your renter’s shoulders is an element we see in the new-age luxury.

Companies like Farmer’s Fridge in Chicago are setting an example by providing locally sourced, healthy vending that could work seamlessly within the amenity space of a multifamily building. Renters can grab a yogurt with fresh blueberries on their way to work in the morning or a salad for lunch if they work in the building’s co-working lounge for the day. Alternatively, a Sweet Green outpost could be set up to receive fresh salads delivered for multiple renters at the same time daily without a delivery fee.

In-building amenities like a community garden or CSA membership can greatly improve the quality of food residents are consuming by bringing it to the forefront of their minds and encourage them to get to know their neighbors in the process. Programming healthy cooking demonstrations and nutrition workshops with local experts or restaurants can help renters learn how to use their building resources better while also creating a sense of belonging and loyalty to their neighborhood and fellow residents.

Refreshments are available to Toll Brothers Apartment Livings' Osprey's residents at the community juice bar.

Rest

When the services above are properly executed, your renters will hopefully have more downtime in their day for well-deserved relaxation. Today’s reset takes many forms – a break from Instagram, a breath of fresh air, a manicure, or a calm evening to prepare for a good night’s sleep.

While spas and similar rejuvenation spaces have begun popping up on multifamily properties across the US, it is important to ensure that they are genuinely usable and offer wellness to the tenants within your building. These areas should be visually calming, built with natural materials, and flooded with natural light. Relaxation spaces do not have to be as intricate as an ice-bath room with saunas; they can just as easily be a soundproof meditation space with floor cushions or an interactive rock garden. Tranquility can even come in the form of digital detoxing, as the presence of WIFI may start to become a nuisance in coming years. Amenity rooms capable of blocking WIFI signals or the wiring of units to allow their tenants to turn off their WIFI at night could become a new amenity that renters look for.

Rest is also sought after through the art of pampering – for both renters and their pets. Pet spas are designed into many multifamily buildings these days and can be used for travel grooming. Still, glam rooms for renters with hairstylists or manicurists can provide in-home pampering is a next-level amenity that we predict we’ll start to see in new buildings. Many apps are already geared towards these on-the-go spa services - like Glamsquad, which allows you to hire a stylist to provide beauty services at home, and Zeel, a common in-home masseuse hiring app. At this point, we have the technology; all that is missing is designed spaces that will allow renters to enjoy these apps in their building.

Outdoor amenities spaces like the featured roof deck at Toll Brothers Apartment Livings' The Kendrick can be shared or used for private functions upon request, allowing residents to host social events beyond the confines of their units.

As residents continue to lose time working and living their lives to the fullest, convenience will become the gold standard for luxury-rental buildings in the future. Any thought or task you can take from your renter’s mind and solve for them will play a crucial part in the sought-after amenities of the future.

After all, what is luxury if you don’t have time for it?

Residents of Toll Brothers Apartment Livings' Osprey can reset and unwind with an urban living experience grounded on research about its neighborhood and an understanding the surrounding community's interests and desires

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