Developers Integrating Amenities Into New Apartment Rental Buildings
By Tina Traster
Apartment seekers have and will always prioritize location and price but these days they’re also looking for what developers are calling “amenities.”
Amenities – technology, community rooms, adds-ons – are the new lures developers are using to attract renters who are looking for modern buildings with cool vibes.
Take Gateway Lofts, a 33-unit boutique apartment building that will rise on the corner of Route 9W and Main Street in Nyack. Developer Elan Sasson is getting ready to break ground within the next couple of weeks on the four-story, one- and two-bedroom, market-rate apartment complex.
“This is going to be a highly “amenitized” building, said Sasson. “We plan to build a project that fills a void in the Rockland market. We did a lot of market research.”
The list of amenities include a gym and recreation room with pool table, ping pong and a kitchen, a movie theater, storage units in each apartment, a pet room with a pet washing station and laundromat facilities, a sedum-covered green roof with Hudson River views and potentially a place for a garden, and underground parking.
“We have very carefully selected amenities based on what we believe to be in demand for Nyack and for Rockland,” said Sasson, who expects the project to take 18 months to two years.
According to an NMHC study, 20% of respondents said the reason for moving to a different building was because they were seeking better community amenities. Apartments.com – the most visited apartment listing site – says developers should consider key trends: outdoor community living including fire pits, hiking and biking trails, and dog friendliness. The study also revealed that nearly 70% of renters of one- and two-bedroom apartments want indoor amenities like coffee shops, movie theaters, golf simulators and wine cellars.
No surprise renters want smart devices to enable home automation features like smart locks that allow renters to lock and unlock their doors remotely.
And NMHC found that 75% of renters want to recycle, while 65% value sustainability and green initiatives or green certifications, on-site renewable energy, and car sharing.
Sasson is banking on millennials, young families and empty nesters who want an urban apartment living experience. Except for the Pavion project, also in Nyack, and The Sheldon in Suffern, there are few apartment buildings in the county that feel plucked from downtown Manhattan or the more urban areas of Westchester.
Recent studies show amenities help drive rental property leasing and rental rates up. Sasson does not yet know what the apartments will rent for but Pavion, for example, is renting apartments for $2,400 monthly. Pavion, too, has stocked its pot with amenities including a clubhouse with an indoor/outdoor fireplace, a conference room, Bluetooth-enabled electric car charging options, a barbeque station, bicycle storage room, and more.
Some apartment buildings emulate hotels, with concierges, charging stations, rideshare programs, and smart technologies including parcel lockers and thermostats, USB plug-ins and keyless entry doors.
Community rooms, and programming for these spaces, is highly desirable, according to a report by the National Apartment Association that says community areas ranked in the top five most wanted amenities. In the past few years, community shared spaces have shifted from pool and hot tub and bbq to clubhouses with fitness centers, resort-style pools and niche spaces for crafts, hobbies, DIY projects as well as on-site conference rooms for people who work at home to tv and movie rooms. Many apartment buildings have people on staff who organize yoga, happy hours and movie nights.
But above all else, canines rule: Some 60 American households have pets; for dogs, apartment buildings are providing off-leash parks, pet washing stations, pet spas and doggie daycare, dog walking and sitting services.
“We want to be pet friendly,” said Sasson. “We believe this is very in line with the community we’re building in.”