Leverage Your Rooftop Amenity Program and Theme for Superior Results

Leverage Your Rooftop Amenity Program and Theme for Superior Results

Rooftop amenities are quickly becoming a major part of a solid multifamily investment strategy. But in order for them to increase the profitability of your project, you need to understand their specific costs and benefits. Then you can make informed decisions on how to make the most of your investment.

Market pressures are driving future developments to be more unique and creative. They need to resonate with your tenants and function for high amounts of use. How you implement rooftop amenities on your upcoming projects will help determine your future success as a real estate developer.

Rooftop Amenity Programming Insights

Creating a successful rooftop amenity space is key to maximizing profitability. With a clear picture of necessary construction costs and an appropriate adjustment to rents, you’ll see the impact your rooftop amenities will have on returns. This helps you make strategic and informed program decisions.

There’s a strong relationship between unit count and amenity square footage, with larger projects justifying larger amounts of communal outdoor space. In some cases, we’ve actually persuaded our clients to reduce the scope of their rooftop amenities in order to apply their budget more strategically for better results. The key is in investing the right amount into a high quality space that drives rent, rather than diluting design by spreading out the cost over too large of an area. The adage “quality over quantity” is absolutely applicable to rooftop amenity design.

On the other hand, there are times when the rooftop space provided isn’t sufficient for the desired program. In these instances we work with the architect to explore alternate building configurations in order to have enough functional rooftop area. The last thing you want to see is the impact of negative reviews complaining about a lack of space in your common areas.

Identifying the right amount of amenity square footage can help inform the outdoor program, but it’s incomplete without establishing a theme. 

Establishing a Theme for Your Rooftop Amenity

A rooftop amenity design’s theme is the common thread that, throughout the design process, becomes the soul of the space. Everything should emanate from the theme and express it to those who use the rooftop amenity.

Establishing a theme is a major (though often overlooked) step in the process of creating immersive experiences. It’s like a company’s mission statement — the standard that gives purpose to problem solving and meaning to the design process. 

Without a theme, each design decision is arbitrary and the result is just a random combination of ideas that lack power. Consider the purpose of your project to derive its theme. Start by asking these questions from designer Matt Taylor: 

  • What is this space about? 
  • What values does it represent, express, promote? 
  • What happens here? 
  • What happens here that cannot happen anywhere else in exactly the same way? 
  • What point of view, what capacity is unique to this place? 
  • What human experience will be created here?

A distinguishable rooftop amenity theme is a valuable way to differentiate your project. It should express the purpose and the values of your project in a way that is communicable to potential tenants. The soul of your project should resonate with them, attracting them to your property because it aligns with their individual identity.

A word of caution. This is not usually a simple process. It takes a lot of effort to derive a theme that is more unique to your project than “resort-style” or “urban living.” But the effort is well worth your time. Projects with a theme have staying power and remain relevant through changes in trends. 

The Bottom Line

Many developers skip the programming process and neglect a theme. But they risk a lot by doing so. What do you stand to lose if you don’t take the time to pin down programming or state a theme? Perhaps your rooftop amenities won’t function the way you intended. They may not get attention from consumers who can’t relate to it.

After understanding the costs and benefits of rooftop amenities, programming and theme are the next layers in a rock solid foundation for your project success.