For a multifamily developer to truly embrace the concept of their trade, developments need to become communal. This zeroes in on the concept that while the families are plenty, the community is one.
Multifamily professionals are certainly catching up to speed with this idea and have begun to implement technology in order to take this model to the next level.
In the past, amenities such as tennis courts, saunas and large clubhouses were the norm. But now, with resident demographics changing and the technological needs of society evolving right along with this, developers are moving forth with new ideas and bold innovations to enhance these common areas with tech.
Stephen Kromer, key principle/minority owner for Kromer Investments, says that his developments have begun to shift towards sports courts, large playgrounds and fitness centers. His company is also shrinking the “clubhouse mindset” and adding more outdoor recreational features such as a walking/bike path, areas for dogs and fire pits.
“We do see that the more you can develop a ‘community’ instead of just rented units in an apartment building, the more rent you can command and the more likely the resident will renew their lease, even for a higher rental rate,” says Kromer.
The Importance of Tech
Kromer points to two main features of tech that make the common areas of multifamily all the more appealing and accessible—speedy Internet connections and the use of “key fobs.”
A key fob is a type of keyless entry to replace one’s standard key. It is a small device with built-in authentication mechanisms, used to gain access to anything from buildings, cars and even networks/information.
Kromer has found key fobs to be one of the most important technologies used in his communities, as they allow owners to keep track of renters’ access activities. They also give renters the freedom to use fitness equipment, turn on fire pits and gain access to all types of recreational areas in the community.
He adds that not having to deal with regular keys is also cost efficient to the development.
As for connections, Wi-Fi has become a necessity in the present age, and these common areas are nothing without proper access to high-speed Internet. Kromer claims that this is the single most important technology developers need to include in their projects, and access should extend to all areas, especially the outdoors.
“From the parent watching their kids at the playground to the guy grilling on the BBQ to people laying out at the pool, having internet access in each and every single one of the common areas is very important and a great sales tool when renting units,” says Kromer.
Being connected is important, both in Internet and in community, and multifamily developers must consider these options when building for families of the present and beyond.