Denver is seeing a strong renter demand for apartments, fueling rent growth and driving down vacancy. Continued population growth is forecasted for the area to the tune of nearly 20% before 2025. Right now, the multifamily market in Denver is breaking records – with more than 15,000 units under construction at the end of Q2.*
The Mile High City has a lot to offer as a place to live from ample outdoor connectivity, a strong entertainment scene and an average of 300 days of sunshine per year, so it’s no surprise that companies and individuals are packing their bags and heading west to the Rocky Mountains. Future and current residents are continually seeking living opportunities that meet their growing lifestyle needs as the population continues to increase.
In October 2021, ARCO Murray Director of Business Development, Charlie McLean, moderated a panel with Jonathan Brown (JHP Architecture/Urban Design), Elliot Marks (Hines), Marshall Friday (ADT Multifamily) and Scott Johnson (LMC) to discuss what residents are really looking for in the Denver market and why. Below are a few of the discussion points:
Most of the technology that is currently being relied upon in multifamily buildings is already integrated into the building. Additional benefits to the leasing process are becoming apparent as that same existing technology is being utilized and applied in different ways. Leasing agents have previously relied upon face-to-face contact to ensure leasing success but that has become an outdated methodology. Leasing companies are now taking advantage of self-guided touring options, to create a sense of convenience and efficiency for both the building operator, and the prospective tenant. Future residents are now employing the power of their smartphone to view multiple properties simultaneously.
2. Designing For Flexibility
Built in flexibility within amenity package design is a key aspect. Residents are now using previously single-function amenities for a multitude of purposes due to spending an increased amount of time at home. It’s critical therefore that the design team incorporates flexible solutions from the outset so that spaces can be modified minimally to support additional functions such as coworking, evening activities for residents, or daytime conference space for the leasing team. As leasing companies have the most up-to-date information regarding resident needs, teams should focus on gaining the input and feedback from their respective agents as early in the project process as possible.
3. Solving for Sound
With individuals working at home during the weekday when multifamily buildings have historically been quiet, sound attenuation is an increasingly more significant concern. Residents in an apartment complex are operating out of a small studio apartment alongside educators teaching online classes next door. Although a frequently missed consideration during the design and build process, prospective residents will view addressing the issue with a proactive solution as a huge tipping point in the properties favor.
4. Adding Convenience Through Technology
With the rise of e-commerce, an increase in time spent at home by residents, and a constant influx of Amazon deliveries to multi-family sites, individuals in property management are struggling to deal with the near 1000 packages a day. A huge improvement can be made towards building functionality by implementing a better system for access. Residents will be able to manage access to package rooms and the property effectively through their smartphones by building owners employing successful access control systems that install video intercoms and keypads. Ultimately leasing staff will be able to manage the process more effectively and the entire system will be more streamlined for residents and drivers.
5. Providing Resources, Not Just Amenities
Residents need more than just simplistic amenities that provide them storage solutions for their collection of mountain bikes and kayaks in such an outdoor centric city like Denver. Developers should focus on amenities that provide an additional experience out of the unit itself, like a rentable amphitheater, on-site equipment rental, and bike maintenance facilities. Residents will be empowered to do things in a unique way and engage with the property and their neighbors if usable resources are provided by the building rather than stationary amenities. Developers will have a relatively inconsequential cost increase, as existing underutilized spaces can be revitalized in place of adding new.
Crafting an experience that is extremely focused on the ideal resident target is key to developing a true community. Employing a high-level approach of doing everything for everyone in the same building ignores how much the market has shifted over the past 10 years. Developers and Design-Builders will meet resident demand by concentrating efforts on finding specific holes in the market and then deploying a community driven solution.
*According to Northmarq Denver Q2 Multifamily Market Report
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