In the past year, multifamily developers and owners across the country have battled the effects of higher costs and softening rents. Still, many developments are finding ways to be successful amid these economic headwinds.
While collaborating with some of the best architects, developers and property managers in the US, we’ve seen a few shifts occurring in the rooftop amenity design space.
Top Rooftop Amenity Trends From the Past Year
With the rise of remote work, the definition of urban apartment living is evolving. Residents expect more from their apartment communities than just a place to sleep after spending the majority of their time out in the city. Rooftop amenities have become a key part of this by elevating the lifestyle of residents with hospitality-level experiences that make apartment living feel like a vacation.
This has led to an increased awareness of and attention to health and wellness in multifamily amenities. More projects are finding success in positioning themselves as places where residents can find respite and recharge amid the stress they are experiencing in their daily lives.
Additionally, more individuals are cognizant of the benefits of spending time in outdoor spaces – particularly within an urban context. People nowadays are aware of their physical and mental health needs and have a stronger desire to connect with nature. It’s not always convenient to escape the city to visit a natural environment, so apartment builders are finding success by bringing nature closer to residents through rooftop amenities and biophilic design.
Overall, rooftop amenities have also become key communal spaces where resident events take place and connections are made. Whether it’s relaxing and recharging, or networking and socializing, one thing is certain — rooftop spaces foster a community spirit.
In 2024 we predict future trends will build on these changes. Successful developers and owners will continue to reap the benefits of well-designed and popular rooftop amenities.
Future Rooftop Amenity Trends – 2024 and Beyond
1. An Investment in Larger Outdoor Spaces
In 2024 developers will continue to increase the size and quality of the outdoor spaces on their projects. We’re noticing an outsized return on investment for improving the quality of outdoor amenities, especially rooftop amenities. Outdoor spaces are becoming a prominent feature of apartment buildings and their brand, which creates more interest and excitement about the property.
Five years ago it was common for residents to get excited about simply having a rooftop amenity at their apartment. That simply is not the case anymore for an increasing amount of urban markets. With resident expectations rising we predict architects and developers will continue to invest in growing and improving these spaces.
2. Do More With Less
At the same time, developers are facing a lot of cost pressure. Right now, it’s difficult to get projects to pencil out. While outdoor amenities are increasing in size and quality, architects and designers are faced with the challenge of doing more with less in order to maximize the effectiveness of their clients’ dollars spent. Creative and cost-conscious solutions will drive the manifestation of project visions moving forward.
We predict a move toward more purposeful minimalism where elegant forms and materials are favored over more elaborate designs. This does not mean, however, that successful projects will compromise on design or take shortcuts. Each feature and design move will have a valuable purpose or it will be removed. Savvy designers will create a hierarchy of features and materials that keep the budget in balance while still providing experiences that stand out and benefit residents.
3. Less Focus on Features; More Focus on Experiences
As outdoor spaces grow in size and prominence, their design will need to evolve away from a laundry list of features and toward a carefully crafted series of experiences. Residents value experiences over products. Outdoor amenities, especially rooftops, provide an ideal opportunity to capture a luxurious experience.
As you embrace a hospitality approach to your amenities will find a higher potential for extra revenue streams. You’ll be able to back up your advertising of “resort style” amenities with tangible “resort style” experiences. And you will benefit from the community building that leads to higher occupancy rates and less turnover. We predict that outdoor amenities will be key to preserving net operating income in 2024 at many urban apartment buildings across the country.
4. Stand Out From the Crowd
With record amounts of luxury apartment supply hitting the market this year and next, competition is stiff between properties. Now is the time to make sure your property provides something distinct and different from the competition. Indistinguishable developments without a clear draw will become replaceable. These buildings will struggle to maintain occupancy without offering a ton of concessions or dropping rent. In 2024 it will be imperative to clearly position your property as something new and different in your neighborhood so that residents find more reasons to live there when they have so many choices.
When conditions are tough, it’s vital that you become creative to stay ahead of what the market demands. Tenants and residents aren’t compromising what they expect from communal spaces. Rooftop amenities can be the factor that sets your project apart.
Learn how you can take advantage of these trends. Let’s talk.