More and more people continue to relocate to mid-sized cities from the more expensive coasts. And they’re bringing the expectation for a higher standard of urban living. Local developers planning to capitalize on the increased rental demand this migration brings can no longer afford to just maintain the status quo. It’s time to ditch the same old cookie-cutter development strategies in place of a bolder approach to multifamily development and design.
The shifting demographics of mid-sized cities like Salt Lake City call for an adjustment in the type and quality of product being offered. Where local tenants may have been satisfied with a smaller variety of choice in apartments, newcomers bring the experience of living in a major city with a wide array of amenities tailored to many different lifestyles. As smaller cities begin to see more outside investment, local tenants gain exposure to new ideas and different, more desirable ways of living.
The urban rooftop amenities that have characterized urban living in cities like New York or Chicago are making their way to intermountain cities like Salt Lake City and Denver. The outdoor living spaces of California or Florida are now in high demand in places such as Kansas and Nevada.
Rooftop amenities are the number one way local developers in mid-sized cities can differentiate their properties. It’s the best way to capture the attention of discerning consumers looking for higher quality apartments in a shifting market.
Renting By Choice
To meet the increasing demand for housing in growing mid-sized cities across the country, developers are adding apartment unit supply at an accelerated rate. Still, housing affordability remains a major hurdle for residents wanting to own a home. The more expensive home ownership becomes, the longer people will have to rent.
We see a future in which more people are going to be living in apartments than there are right now. And, regardless of financial situation, credit score, or job mobility, apartment residents choose to rent because it enables them to live the lifestyle they want.
A greater number of renters will be renting by choice because urban apartments will be more desirable to them than owning and maintaining a house. The shared access to features and experiences that are ultra-luxurious and high-end, combined with the relative ease and convenience provided will change the perception of apartment living for good.
Even those who may not have as much of a choice between home ownership and renting will still enjoy the benefits of raised standards for urban living. Urban apartments in mid-sized cities will no longer be perceived as a temporary place to live until one can afford to buy a house in the suburbs and move out.
Standing Out in a Changing Market
In a smaller market, it may not seem that hard to stand out. After all, it’s much easier to be a big fish in a small pond. You just have to be ahead of the curve.
As we’ve looked at comparables in Salt Lake City, it wasn’t that long ago that rooftop amenities were a rarity. Now they are a standard feature. But what’s more rare are rooftop amenities that truly capture the attention of urban residents and drive occupancy and sales. These are the spaces that feel distinct to the community and brand.
Rooftop amenities that help your project stand out will include three main components: opportunities to connect with nature, opportunities to connect with other people, and a strong connection between the interior amenity spaces and the outdoors.
Key features that provide opportunities to connect with nature include planters with trees, shrubs, and grasses. The calming sound provided by a water feature contributes to a naturalistic atmosphere. Communal garden boxes give residents a chance to dig into soil and grow their own fresh food.
Spaces that encourage social interaction make for a more connected community of residents. Small, casual gathering spaces like outdoor kitchens and fire pits are ideal for evening hangouts with friends. And larger flexible spaces can be programmed for community events where residents can be introduced to their neighbors and make friends. The best rooftops are the ones with many people and lots of human activity.
The seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces creates a wow experience. Connected interior and exterior amenities enhance each other and increase the likelihood of each being used and enjoyed by residents.
Amenities to Make Your Development Stand Out
At Loft Six Four we’re passionate about helping our urban multifamily real estate developer clients create stand out projects with creative rooftop amenity design. We don’t think like locals. In fact, we’ve expanded our services outside of Utah in order to hone our expertise and create diverse spaces across the country that are truly unique. We do things that haven’t been done before. It starts by thinking about rooftop amenity design in a different way; constantly challenging the status quo while building on past experiences. It’s in our DNA to do that.
Looking to set your next project apart from the rest? Let’s talk about helping you stand out.