We’ve heard it multiple times from multiple clients. Multifamily real estate developers frequently acknowledge they want their “champagne tastes” fulfilled on a “beer budget.”
This sometimes self deprecating comparison comes from the growing and constant pressure developers face to create projects they can be proud of with very real monetary constraints. At the same time, construction costs are skyrocketing, as are the expectations of consumers exponentially increasing. How do you create a luxurious experience for tenants, while keeping your budgets in line?
Luxurious Rooftops and Outdoor Spaces on a Budget
Helping our clients not overspend is central to our design process and philosophy at Loft Six Four. And yet our designs are known for being creative, exciting, even elaborate. We design spaces that feel expensive, but often aren’t that much more costly than a less appealing alternative. We can make it feel high-end and luxurious to your tenants without making it unrealistic and costing you a ton of money.
How? Striking the right balance between your high aspirations for your development and your budget constraints has less to do with unlimited funds and more to do with the right mindset. Here are a few strategies we regularly employ to help our clients get the most bang for their buck.
Start Big, Not Small
Our approach to design is thoughtful, not just a free-for-all. It’s not just an homage to ourselves or something we want to show off in our company portfolio. In order for us to be happy with it, what we design for you has to meet your metrics for success.
That being said, we’re careful not to shy away from big ideas at the start — even when they may not seem practical or attainable at first. The reason for this is because it’s far more likely to bring the right result in the end: a truly luxurious space. If one of your success metrics is to create amenities that stand out in the minds of consumers but you’re concerned cost will prevent you doing anything creative, then you can never achieve your goals. But, if we give you all the best, most exciting ideas we can come up with, then you can choose which ones to prioritize and commit to.
The key here is to eliminate fear —fear of cost constraints andfear of bruising your designer’s ego. That’s why we set the expectation from the beginning that we’re going to present you a design as if there were few constraints, then work together with you to find the solution for your space that will best reach your goals. We don’t set out to be right, just to find the right answer for your individual project.
If an idea feels impossible, but you believe it will help your project be successful, then it is definitely something you should pursue. That’s how you get features that truly differentiate your project. We’re not about to give you a cut-and-paste design so that your project looks just like all the others. Our experience has been that the more different you can be, the more luxurious the end result. And that always starts out with the biggest ideas possible.
Address Budget Early and Often
Removing the fear of cost constraints doesn’t mean removing an awareness of it. Being open about your budget is key to building confidence in big idea generation at the beginning of the project. It’s nearly impossible to be creative when cost is the only thing on your mind. But it is absolutely impossible to make wise decisions about the design without at least a budget range in place to guide the conversation.
Equally important is a rough order of magnitude cost estimate that can indicate what a specific design could cost. Too often we back away from the best ideas because they appear to be too expensive. But we’re passing this judgement without any real information to inform our decision making. If something feels too expensive, there is a good chance it is exactly what your project needs to feel luxurious. Cost is influenced by many factors including materials, size, square footages, and availability. What might not make sense economically on one project could be perfectly reasonable on another. But there’s no way to know without doing some takeoffs and research.
Create a Hierarchy for Space Planning and Investment
Spending money on luxurious outdoor amenities is not a waste when it has a return. And it’s clear that properly designed and executed rooftop and outdoor amenities consistently drive revenue for urban multifamily developments by increasing occupancy and rents.
Now, no one wants to throw away money on something of little value. On the other hand, there is a colossal amount of capital out there looking for something worthwhile in which to be invested. So the most pressing question may not be about how much to spend, but rather what to invest it in.
That’s why we focus on the highest value areas of our scope. It’s always better to have one outstanding moment in the outdoor program, than several mediocre ones. By creating a hierarchy for the space, you can confidently spend more than usual on a few items because you’re strategically prioritizing them over the others. On smaller projects we’ve even recommended reducing the total rooftop area in order to get the square footage low enough for construction costs to be justifiable in comparison to the increased value offered by the amenities.
Our experience gives us the insight necessary to guide this kind of decision making. Contact us today to get started on some luxurious outdoor amenities for your next multifamily development.