We recently surveyed two regional managers at NXT Property Management, a growing third-party property management company and local specialist in Utah.
We asked regional managers Shae Dearden and Cricket Whitlock about their experience managing multifamily properties with rooftop amenities, how rooftop amenities add value to a property, and how we can improve the design and development of rooftop amenities in Utah.
Their feedback highlights the unique value and increasing prominence of rooftop amenities in the Utah multifamily market.
Rooftop Amenities Add Value to Multifamily Properties
From the feedback we received from Shae and Cricket, it’s clear that rooftop amenities increase the marketability of multifamily communities.
Shae describes the advantage of open gathering spaces as very inviting and allowing for residents to feel more comfortable post-Covid. She affirms that the ability to keep most rooftops open year-round is appealing to residents, which helps to increase retention.
Cricket lists uniqueness and their capacity as modern, hip, and open entertaining spaces as the key marketable characteristics of rooftop amenities. She adds that rooftop amenities show particularly well to prospective residents.
When it comes to the effect of rooftop amenities on net operating income, Shae says it depends on what they provide to residents. Amenities that are regularly used tend to keep residents long term. Both Shae and Cricket agree that rooftop amenities are valuable as spaces that can be rented out for additional income from events.
When asked about how often residents use rooftop amenities and how much they seem to value them, Shae replied, “It depends on the community. I think of Skyhouse as a great rooftop amenity. Best views, BBQ areas and space for several groups to mingle or individuals to enjoy being alone.” Cricket added, “I believe rooftop amenities are valuable to the residents that are drawn to the area based on their interests, social activities, and exercise classes (like yoga).”
A combination of social spaces and quiet respite, coupled with programmed spaces that align with lifestyle interests of residents is the recipe for a valuable and successful rooftop amenity.
How to Improve Rooftop Amenities at Multifamily Development Projects
We asked Cricket and Shae how real estate developers could better leverage rooftop amenities and how rooftop amenity designers like ourselves could improve the way we design them.
Shae suggests doing market research in the area to better understand the demographics and how to better cater to them. Utilize the space to fit the demographic and take advantage of what the location provides in terms of views to highlight the uniqueness of the rooftop amenity.
Cricket believes that more options are necessary to market to a broader demographic. She lists reading and lounging nooks, BBQ’s, outdoor games, water features, outdoor kitchens, and even a dance floor as desirable features. It’s important to appeal to multiple interests and activities, while providing enough room for several groups to gather and peacefully enjoy the outdoors.
Talking about demographics, Cricket observes that they are seeing more professionals and seniors renting and that seniors are a demographic in particular that has been overlooked in the design and planning of rooftop amenities.
Rooftop Amenities in Utah
Shae and Cricket agree that the pandemic increased the demand for rooftop amenities as residents felt safer and more able to enjoy themselves outside of an enclosed space where they didn’t have to wear masks.
When asked about the future of rooftop amenities in Utah, Cricket said, “As we continue to build midrise and highrise buildings with limited space, they will become more desirable and allow for some outdoor living activities.” Shae added, “I think rooftop amenities will continue to become even more desirable and something that residents will use.”
Based on their feedback, it’s clear rooftop amenities are a valuable addition to urban multifamily developments. They will only continue to become more valuable in the future. Savvy real estate developers will get the most value as they provide ever more unique and targeted rooftop amenities and outdoor living experiences to their prospective residents.
Cricket Whitlock has 37 years of Property Management experience. Her career has been diverse by holding leadership positions in the self-managed, 3rd party management, REIT and single-family sectors. Cricket currently resides and manages in Utah, but her experience has spanned over numerous states, including Texas, Washington, California, Oregon, Arizona, and Ohio. She brings knowledge in all aspects of transitions, lease-ups, rehabs, and stabilized assets. In addition to her experience in property management, she is pursuing her CAM certification.
Shae Dearden is working toward a bachelor’s degree in technical sales at Weber State University and has accumulated over 10 years of experience in the multifamily industry. In addition to her experience, she is pursuing her CAM and is a CPM candidate with IREM. Her extensive knowledge and professional background make her such a good fit in her current role as Regional Manager, where she works with colleagues on-site and at corporate.