Innovative Amenities for Multifamily

CRE's picture
Rank: The Pro | 29,746

WSO, I'm interested in seeing what kind of cool amenities you've come across, when developing, selling, buying, or living in apartment communities. We've all heard of Nest thermostats and whatnot, but this Hines deal in Boston provides lighting in tune with your body clock, a vitamin-infused showerhead, on-demand aromatherapy, custom blackout shades, filtered tap water, and air purifiers that remove pollen, pet dander, and your neighbor's unwelcome cooking odors for an extra $125-$225 a month in rent premiums.

Pretty cool stuff if you ask me. What else is out there?

Source: https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/real-estate/...

Comments (54)

Jul 11, 2016

Cool stuff, but the O'Connor's sound like the biggest dweebs.

Jul 11, 2016
tengleha:

Cool stuff, but the O'Connor's sound like the biggest dweebs.

All tenants are. (you know...except myself...)

Jul 11, 2016

I develop sr housing and we build a lot of unique amenities into our buildings. That said, we generate additional care fees over and above rental revenue to offset the additional construction and operating costs.

A few of the cool amenities are wine bars, wood working shops, bistros, pet washes, full-menu restaurants, full-service spas with fitness equipment and pools, club rooms with liquor lockers, the list goes on...

    • 2
Jul 11, 2016

I've seen electric car charging stations, wine rooms with lockers, fire pits/outdoor lounge areas, pet walking and grooming stations, golf simulators, bike rental/storage, pools with lazy rivers, catering kitchens, guest suites and Zip Car (or similar) in garages as community amenities.

As far as unit amenities go, I've seen large outdoor patios/balconies (I've seen 800 SF patios on some 3 bedroom units lately), fridges with carbonated water/ranges with pot fillers/plate warming areas, and steam showers.

These are the type of places that are generally geared towards singles, people who entertain a lot, or empty nesters that are downsizing from their suburban homes.

    • 1
Best Response
Jul 11, 2016

http://logansquarel.com/gallery/
-Picture 14 or so. They put an old "L" train car on the amenities deck
-Golf simulators in a couple projects I've seen
-I'm not sure why buildings don't load up more with package lockers or dry-cleaner lockers

    • 3
Jul 11, 2016

Probably the most unique thing I've seen is a golf and tennis simulator.

Jul 11, 2016

Didn't read the comments. Should probably MS myself

    • 1
Jul 11, 2016

An apartment we financed in Texas had a garden in the courtyard and you could literally grab fresh tomatoes. It was part of the rent. I guess they were trying to implement a healthy living culture, but found it interesting. I also saw another apartment where they hosted regular wine tastings on the rooftop pool. This was also in Texas. Rent at this place was steep of course.

    • 1
Jul 13, 2016

Yup, I've also encountered the wine monthly wine tasting for an Apartment Complex we financed. Pretty excellent stuff.

Jul 12, 2016

We recently started installing package lockers in our properties. Fedex, UPS, and the Post Office all use it, but you have to get them to individually sign off on it before you can expect them to use it. We sell it to the tenants as an amenity, but it really was just a solution to the problem that arose when our on site staff couldn't handle all the deliveries to the leasing offices.

Jul 12, 2016

Not really an amenity per se, but my old building had electronic locks and keyfobs. Cool because I'd never seen them used in apartments before and because it meant that one key opened every lock in the building so I didn't have multiple keys on my keychain. It also made getting replacement and extra keys a very simple process.

Dry cleaner lockers were also VERY useful.

Jul 12, 2016

Seriously? Had these in the UK for a LONG time. Don't think I've ever lived in a place without them.

Jul 12, 2016

I'd honestly never seen them in the US until then, even in newer buildings.

Jul 12, 2016

At a few of the communities I've taken a run at recently, some of the innovative amenities I've seen include:

  • Trampolines
  • Slip n slides
  • A bench press on the lawn
  • One community even had a doughboy! (that's an above ground pool for all you city folks)
Jul 12, 2016

Hah, some serious class A space you have there. bench press on the lawn is hard as fuck

Jul 13, 2016
Lizard Brain:

A bench press on the lawn

I didn't know there were any funds in the private prison space. What are your turnover costs like?

Jul 12, 2016

http://thecatherineaustin.com/amenities
i just moved in here a few months ago. By FAR the best feature is the Residents-Only bar on the top floor.... Bartender works every night usually till 10pm or so, great view of the city... it's a huge hit among tenants and was the reason i chose the building over several others. There's wifi throughout the building so you can go up and relax while you tend to emails. They get at least 30% of my disposable income.

Other things:
-electric car charging stations
-dog grooming station
-private dining room
-spinning room complete with the huge screen / simulator deal / spin classes daily
-Sonos in all the rooms w/ built in speakers

surprisingly not a very douchey vibe in the place either

    • 2
Jul 18, 2016

The guy's that bought that are a super interesting group. I think they started out buying manufactured housing in the midwest, maybe outside of Detroit, and made a fortune. Then they saw the tides were turning, picked up the whole family, moved to Austin, and started buying up grocery-anchored retail. Next I'm pretty sure they used some 1031 money to buy that deal for a number that I am told is several million above what any other group was willing to pay. Pretty wild swing from mobile homes to the Catharine. That is a sweet property though. Some of the best views in Austin.

Jul 20, 2016

I also heard they bought at a large premium (which is nuts, given what multifamily trades for in Austin). Perhaps their humble beginnings explain the desire for a trophy property? I also heard it's a family office (two brothers?) so might not have as many investor mandates to abide by

Aug 4, 2016

I don't know sounds like it will make random hookups REALLY awkward when you see each other in the same elevator for minimum 1-year straight.

Jul 12, 2016

A wellness technology package will be interesting to keep tabs on.

New development we are building will have a rooftop pool, rooftop gym, virtual golf bays, google fiber, and nest thermostats.

Looking at placing bike sharing stations at a few properties.

55+ property in our portfolio has a bingo table for bingo nights.

To a point that was previously made, I toured a value add property in Seattle where the plan on larger water facing units with patios was to expand patio space. The firm had already expanded patios on two units, did nothing else to the interiors, and saw significant rent pops.

    • 1
Jul 12, 2016

Wow, never thought I'd see an apartment near Alewife with luxury amenities.

Jul 12, 2016
CRE:

a vitamin-infused showerhead

Really? Why, so you can literally throw your vitamins down the drain?

Jul 13, 2016

Apparently Vitamin C reduces the amount of chlorine in the water? Don't shoot the messenger though - I agree it sounds silly.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jul 12, 2016

In a building were marketing we have a golf simulator.

Jul 13, 2016

https://www.thrillist.com/entertainment/washington...
The communal dog has to be one of the more unique amenities.

http://thecollectivedc.com/agora/
Has a ton of amenities including golf simulator

    • 2
Jul 13, 2016

dc and the north east are making these amenities the norm it seems. I've seen pet grooming, roof top polls, food delivery, yoga class and spin class stuff for chicks, personal trainers, dry cleaning pick up and drop off, sponsored wine happy hours once a month on the roof, 24 hour handy men to replace your light bulbs, hot tubs, community grills where they clean the grill and keep the propane full, music in the halls, the works.

Hines, Avalon, Gables, Forest City are all going ham trying to retain mellenials and lawyers (idk who other than a recent lawyer making 300k would pay 5600/month for a 2 bed - that's seen as relatively normal when I was trying to get some Intel from a Forest City leasing agent).

    • 1
Jul 13, 2016

If you think about it, they're trying to sell a product that seems like a mix of 'mature-undergrad-life' with a dash of country club, and direct access to Rasheem scooping you in your Uber.

I've noticed it's very much the norm for everyone to know where you live simply by saying the building name, because all firms are aggressively marketing similar buildings to the same pool of people - people 1-13 years out of undergrad.

And gyms, dog bath stations, and roof polls are very much the minimum expectation I feel like. Interested to see if this is the norm in the south , or considered high end.

    • 1
Jul 13, 2016
Jul 13, 2016

What is the consensus on the Palmer projects in LA. I've lived in one that had 3 pools 3 rooftop patios a rockclimbing wall in the gym (but no bench press) 3 saunas a steam room 2 basket ball courts ( one clippers one lakers) and a foutain similar to the wynn hotels

    • 1
Jul 13, 2016
LA CRE:

(but no bench press)

Very few things frustrate me more than half-assed apartment gyms. It's a huge positive if I don't have to deal with LA Fitness salespeople or whatever and can just take the elevator downstairs. I've picked apartments in the past based on that as the deciding factor. Places where the heaviest weight is a 50lb dumbbell are ridiculous.

Jul 19, 2016

^This. Good call wasting your valuable square footage on a Holiday Inn Express gym that no one uses.

    • 1
Jul 21, 2016

My username (and, unfortunately, my own experience) prompts me to second your comment.

Jul 13, 2016

Totally slightly unrelated but when I was with my buddy looking at apartments, he was looking at luxury studios. And one had the 'bedroom' portion blocked off by a glass wall and it was one of those which turn opaque when current is ran through it.

Coolest thing I've ever seen.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller.

"Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL

    • 1
Jul 13, 2016

I know a development that features that and I agree - it's rather striking. I've seen it in an office building too where there are "breakout" rooms and conference rooms with full glass walls that turn opaque when privacy is needed.

Jul 26, 2016

Those Opaque walls are cool and everything, but when it comes down to it, they never actually go back to being transparent. They get close, but they're going to remain tinted, and get worse with every use.

Jul 13, 2016

Stripper pole is a pretty crucial amenity

Jul 21, 2016

Tanning beds. Many of the Class-B multifamily assets we looked at in the midwest had two to three tanning beds for the tenants to use.

    • 1
Jul 21, 2016

Not sure those classify as "innovative"... good for dermatologists in Omaha I suppose.

Jul 21, 2016

I don't know how common this is for an amenity, but I heard of a building that has a Starbucks machine in it - and its residents can have free coffee in the morning hours. Pretty unique of a selling point for attracting the modern tenant?

    • 1
Jul 21, 2016

We do this, fuckers are expensive though.

Jul 21, 2016

I've see it a lot. Amusingly it's my girlfriend's favorite amenity where I live. Yes, we have our own coffee pot and an absurd supply of coffee that her parents brought home from a trip to South and Central America. Doesn't matter.

Jul 21, 2016

I see this a lot in student housing developments.

Jul 21, 2016

Just commenting to say great thread topic, and +1 on the package lockers, golf simulators, and car chargers (which are rising in demand for our office properties as well - when that new, more affordable Tesla comes out, I'm sure it'll be even more ubiquitous).

Jul 26, 2016

This was an odd one I came across. "Exam Rooms"...that is exactly what they're called. They're in a community that was developed maybe a year ago and geared towards 40-50 year olds, and used for medical house calls. Cool idea for the target market but weird name.

Aug 4, 2016
Comment
Oct 9, 2019