Over the past few months we’ve written a lot about the ROI of rooftop amenities — how to predict ROI, increase it, and measure the results. But, is a thorough understanding of rooftop amenity ROI enough to take your multifamily development projects from dull to brilliant? Not necessarily.
In markets where rooftop amenities are uncommon, just having them at your property will make it a standout. But as rooftop amenities continue to become more popular, apartment residents will begin to differentiate between various levels of quality.
The key to distinguishing your property from the growing amount of comparable options comes down to understanding what residents value most.
Creating Opportunities for People to Connect
An opportunity for human connection as well as access to nature is at the heart of the value rooftop amenities and other communal outdoor spaces provide.
Since the onset of the pandemic, people have realized the immense value in spending time outdoors. The health benefits of being in nature have never been so obviously apparent to the average person. It used to be that residents accepted the choice between living in the suburbs “closer to nature” and living in the city closer to work as a necessary trade-off. Now, apartment residents are looking for green outdoor living spaces within the city.
Consider what multifamily developments have traditionally offered. Is an empty concrete podium deck going to cut it for them? How about a sparsely furnished rooftop? Not likely. Your residents want to be up close to nature, even immersed in it. The rooftop amenities of the future will feature ample trees and dense shrubs. Lush and green outdoor spaces are the standard.
Similarly, the pandemic has increased people’s loneliness and isolation. Even the most introverted individuals acknowledge the need for social interaction as an important part of life.
Apartment residents need and want locations where they can socialize. Common amenities provide ideal locations for hosting gatherings of family and friends and casual interactions between neighbors.
Provide What Matters Most
As a real estate developer, you provide something of prime importance to the residents who will soon inhabit the buildings you’re working hard to get built. Beyond the necessary aspects of a home, such as shelter and security, you have a direct impact on their lifestyle. Whether they are healthy or not, have friends or not, are invested in their community or not – all of this can be helped or hindered by their physical environment.
The most important things to many people are their relationships and their health. These make up the ultimate value proposition of rooftop amenities. You’re not just selling a 2-bedroom unit. You’re selling a life experience. It’s the quality of life you are selling, not just the rooftop amenities.
Breathing in the fresh air atop a building, watching the sunset across the city skyline and sharing a drink with your best friend. Rolling out your yoga mat on the deck, surrounded by dozens of new friends as you participate in the community sponsored rooftop yoga class. Meeting the next person to change your life, be it a love interest or professional mentor, while seated around the rooftop fire pit. These are the types of experiences that you are selling and we are striving to create.
Why Human Connections Should Be at the Core of Your Development Project
If people are most interested in their relationships with other people and living in good health, can’t they do that regardless of the type of apartment building they live in? Of course. But, given the choice, they will go to the places where they will have the types of experiences they want. That’s why it’s so important to design places where people actually want to be.
As a rooftop amenity designer we know we can’t control what people do or how they use a space. To believe that is pure hubris. But we can create more opportunities for people to connect. We can provide them with easier access to nature and comfortable and natural spaces to interact positively with other people. Quality relationships grow organically, but they all begin with a connection. And apartment residents simply want the opportunity to make such connections.
For a more successful multifamily real estate development, lean into people’s desire for more access to nature and human connection. Let it be the guiding theme that directs your design decisions and level of investment. After all, you wouldn’t be building the apartments without the people who will live in them. They truly are the center of your work.