MCA-5 Design Features That Rule In Multi-Family Projects-1

How can developers attract tenants and get the best return on investment in multi-family buildings? It’s critical to stay abreast of the latest trends, and today that means offering design-focused amenities that cater to the diverse needs of multiple generations.

Today’s multi-family developers can stand out from the competition by creating spaces that offer a healthy living environment and foster a sense of community among tenants. Apartment rents are rising at historic rates, notes CNBC, and it’s important to show potential tenants why living in a newly constructed multi-family building is worth the price.

We’ve witnessed firsthand the impact these smart designs have had on occupancy rates in multi-family buildings through our work designing model home interiors, amenities and recreational spaces. Here are five trends that builders, developers and architects should incorporate in multi-family projects to drive revenue:

In a space that serves as a leasing office by day and shared common room by night, glass partitions create office pods that are private yet connected and several different types of tables and chairs offer residents the opportunity to vary the size of activity areas. (Image: Mary Cook Associates)

1. ENABLE A CONNECTED LIFESTYLE
When designing a multi-family building, it’s essential to keep future tenants in mind. For instance, Millennials are attracted by units that feature flexible floor plans and shared spaces that offer Wi-Fi throughout, plenty of indoor and outdoor electrical and USB outlets and other conveniences like keyless entry. For this generation as well as Boomers, features that promote social connectivity are just as important. Young professionals aren’t just looking for a place to sleep and eat; they want their home to be part of a community. The same holds true for Boomers, who are changing their lifestyles and have time on their hands to forge new relationships. Add features and amenities that make sense, from pet-focused or high-end laundry services to full-scale fitness centers and groceries the latter both options that are dependent on the resources available in a building’s surrounding neighborhood.

2. DESIGN FOR FLEXIBILITY
When it comes to style, Millennials at 80 million strong currently the largest demographic for multi-family buildings are looking for anything but cookie-cutter, notes Entrepreneur magazine. Just like selecting and customizing apps for smartphones, they look for units and common areas that they can break down and rebuild in different ways. One way we achieve this is by designing lobbies that offer telecommuters a quiet place to work during the day, but can be easily transformed into a lounge area for happy hour. Furniture choices have to reflect this, with lightweight chairs and tables that are easy to move around.

3. USE DURABLE MATERIALS
Multi-family building units have been shrinking as developers meet a growing demand for studios and one-bedroom apartments. In fact, the square footage of the average apartment in the U.S. has dropped almost 10 percent, notes the National Association of Realtors. Young adults are spending more time socializing and working in lobbies and common areas, so it is important to consider this when selecting décor and furnishings. Outdoors, invest in fabrics that can sustain water and UV ray exposure, and in all situations, use stain-resistant textiles and flooring that will uphold wear and tear of busy adults and young children.

4. MAKE BOUNDARIES OPTIONAL
In our experience designing amenities, recreational spaces and model home interiors in multi-family buildings, an effective way to maximize functionality is by incorporating movable or retractable walls. This allows tenants to adapt rooms for multiple purposes, catering to individual needs. In mild climates, walls can be opened up to a patio, creating outdoor lounges for working, alfresco dining and more. And with movable walls, fitness centers can offer larger, dance studio-type instruction, or smaller, intimate classes like yoga or meditation.

5. ENSURE SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
Creating a sustainable living space involves much more than simply offering recycling services. Multi-family developers, as well as designers, need to focus on healthy building materials that won’t compromise residents health, including nontoxic paints and finishes and locally sourced products. Pay close attention to areas like kitchen countertops and floors where children play. Every minute detail should be examined, from the glue behind wallpaper to fibers in carpets.

Mary Cook & Josh Kassing

Written By

Mary Cook & Josh Kassing

Founder and President of Mary Cook Associates (MCA)